Australian Uber rival GoCatch is giving away free rides

GoCatch says it’s okay to hop into this van. (Source: supplied)

Uber might be a disrupter of taxis, but when you’re an Australian ridesharing startup it’s a David vs Goliath battle getting noticed against the popular US company.

But challenger ridesharing service GoCatch thinks it may have now found a way to get people’s attention – free rides. Free rides in a Volkswagen Kombi van.

The partnership with Pepsi sees the Kombi, decked out in Pepsi Max paraphernalia, cruise the streets of Sydney. If a GoCatch user makes a booking near the van and the Kombi accepts the job, the ride is free.

Destinations are limited to the Sydney metropolitan area and the free rides will be given away from today until the end of the month. The Kombi can reportedly be seen distinctly from other GoCatch cars on the map within the app — allowing users to maximise their chances of scoring a freebie.

“We’re always looking for fun and innovative ways to make life easier for commuters, and what better way to ‘max your summer’ than by getting a free ride in an iconic Kombi in the busy January holiday period,” said GoCatch marketing head Genevieve Liston.

The partnership with the drink company also sees GoCatch passengers nationally receive 15,000 free cans of Pepsi Max over the Australia Day “long weekend” from January 26 to 29.

Last month saw GoCatch and Uber have a war of words over pre-planned surge pricing during the busy Christmas and new year period. GoCatch does not apply surge multipliers during busy times, but does apply different tariffs according to the time of the day.

Since its launch in February last year, GoCatch has attempted to lure drivers with a bigger cut of the fares. It charges drivers a fee of 15% of the fare, compared to the 20% that UberX charges. In May, reports surfaced that Uber was firing drivers for also using GoCatch, even though officially the US company denies drivers are employees and are not exclusively bound.

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