Yesterday Uber X was legalised in New South Wales, with the state government looking to raise $250 million to compensate existing taxi licence plate owners.
Transport minister Andrew Constance announced that Uber would be legalised from midnight, in a massive blow to the taxi and hire car industries, which have lobbied hard against the US-based ride-sharing business.
“Customers, taxi and hire car operators, drivers and new entrants have all made clear they want change and today we are making it happen,” Constance said.
Under the reforms, taxis will still have exclusive rights to pick passengers up from streets, ranks and airports, but smartphone apps for ride-sharing services will be legal.
Drivers will need a hire car authority to work and the cars will need to be registered during the transition period.
But one point that has ruffled a few feathers is that the government has now raised the already high prices of both Uber X and regular taxis by adding a $1 per trip levy on all point-to-point transport providers, for a maximum of five years or until it raises $250 million.
“I think this is the only way it will work,” Sinjay, a taxi driver from Rouse Hill told Business Insider.
“We [taxi drivers] pay crazy amounts for our plates and are losing fares to people who don’t have the same upfront costs. The playing field needs to be leveled,” he said.
Another driver, Ali, from Bankstown still expressed anger towards the legislation of Uber X, saying, “I’ve been a driver in Sydney now for 15 years, the small fares across the city which Uber hasn’t stolen yet don’t make up for the longer fares at night which are killing our jobs.”
Regardless of how drivers feel, the fact that Uber X has now been legalised means there will likely be an influx of customers to the service. So how does the pricing actually compare?
We’ll start with how the fare is calculated. Below is the rate in which Sydney, Newcastle and other urban areas calculate your fare in NSW.
And this is the rate that Uber X calculates its fares. Note that there is no late peak rates, but Uber X does surge pricing based on demand where fares can go up to 7x the regular price.
But what about some popular routes? This is the difference you’ll likely pay. To calculate these, we used Uber’s estimated fare costs at 11am on a Friday, and TaxiFare.com.au’s estimates also at 11am on a Friday, picking the lowest fare from each. Plus we added a $1 for the new surcharge.
As you can see, there’s a significant saving still to be made by Uber X, with often a greater saving on shorter trips. Just hope you don’t get caught in a surge period where prices for Uber are usually double.