Finally we join the rest of the world and legalise Uber. But should we be compensating taxis? A lazy, moribund industry that took no positive steps when their industry was being disrupted.
Queensland will soon join the rest of the sane world and legalise Uber.
At the same time, the state government announced a $100m subsidy package for owners of taxi licences.
The taxi industry made itself ripe for the picking through sloppy largesse. Its features were notoriously poor service, awful vehicles and a front-line workforce so poorly paid that customer fleecing was prolific.
The taxi industry behaved like an immortal, lazy monopoly. It persisted with an old-school management and payment structure that skimmed millions off the top and left drivers and customers wanting more.
Then came Uber.
Neat, clean, easy and sophisticated. They swept consumers off their feet.
And the taxi industry’s response? Did they modernise, tidy up their act?
No – they spent millions bad mouthing Uber, scaring customers and lobbying yesterday-thinking politicians.
Technology has long allowed consumers and service providers to communicate directly.
Taxi companies are an unnecessary middle man.
Any attempt to prolong this ancient dichotomy is foolhardy, wasteful and decidedly bad for consumers.
The Queensland government’s $100m ‘transition’ package for the taxi industry has been howled down by industry supporters as inadequate.
‘It’s weak as anything, the pay-out,’ said Qld MP Rob Katter.
But should there be any compensation at all?
Did owners of Blockbuster video stores receive compensation when iTunes, Netflix and friends modernised the market and kicked them to the curve?
What about blacksmiths when the Model T Ford hit the production line? Did we compensate them too?
Why should tax payers fork out money to soften the blow for an industry that not only operated an inevitably moribund model, but responded in such a negative, uncommercial manner when their industry was disrupted?