Australian-owned Uber rival GoCatch is launching in Brisbane after the Queensland government announced it would legalise ride-sharing in the state.
It’s the first expansion for the Sydney-based service under new CEO David Holmes, who replaced departing co-founder Ned Moorfield in June.
The Palaszczuk government announced the changes to ride-sharing in Queensland last week in response to an independent review into personalised transport.
Transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe put a $100 million industry adjustment assistance package on the table, including $60 million in a one-off payments $20,000 per licence (capped at two licences) for taxi licence holders and $10,000 for existing limousine service licence holders.
On top of that is a $26.7 million hardship fund and $4.3 million in waived fees over the next 12 months, as well as $5.6 million for wheelchair accessible taxis and $3.75 million for business advisory help.
“Emerging technologies are shaping customer expectations in the personalised transport industry which is why we need to transition to a new regulatory framework that will make the entire industry more agile, sustainable and competitive,” Hinchliffe.
Under the changes from 5 September, ride-booking services such as GoCatch and Uber, which has been subjected to more than 700 penalty notices as it continued to operate illegally in Queensland, will now be legalised. Taxis will continue to have exclusive access to rank and hail services, and 80 regulations will be cut, including the age limit for taxis.
“These changes will deliver certainty and take the regulatory pressure off industry, ensuring all entrants can compete in the market,” Hinchliffe said.
“According to PwC economic analysis, these changes will deliver a net economic benefit estimated at $474.1 million across the state.”
GoCatch launched its ridesharing platform GoCar in Sydney in February, pricing it cheaper than UberX and without the US-owned rival’s controversial surge pricing, instead using peak and off-peak pricing.
It will start in Brisbane on September 5.
GoCatch also processes over 100,000 taxi rides monthly. Last week the company announced it was expanding the program for users to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points for taxi rides, which it launched last October, to the GoCar ride-sharing service too.