Over the weekend I was in Sydney, and after the usual preparations (pre-drinking) of the night was concluded and time to go to the next location I got onto the phone and rang a taxi, shouted out to see whether we should get a maxi taxi or a couple of regulars ones. My question was responded with “don’t worry about it, we’ll just get Ubers. ” Now from where I am from, Newcastle, Ubers are not as common, however in Sydney nowadays it seems a social norm. Not in the sense that Uber has taken over but working in unison alongside taxi services.
I still do prefer the taxis and as always ordered my taxi and off I was. Now generally this trip is a good half an hour or so and there’s nothing worst then the feeling of that awkward silence for so long. So as a natural default and as you would normally you ask them how their night has been.
A topic I always like bringing up nowadays is what their view is on the development of Uber. I have had a mix response with some people saying that they themselves are also Uber drivers, that there is so many people requiring transport solutions so that they aren’t affected, some truly hating the fact that they are taking away possible business and some posing some other various concerns.
This taxi driver went through a concern that a lot of them have had and that is, anybody can be an Uber driver and that there is no regulation as to the legitimacy of their ability. Which is not exactly true, it’s just that nobody cares about the legitimacy of this 40 billion dollar company backed by the conglomerates of Google and Goldman Sachs if it provides a cheaper and more convenient service. It can be quite shocking to see how much this company is thriving even though the service is actually banned in most states across Australia including N.S.W and Q.L.D. (Lewis, 2015)
Even though it is illegal the major concern that I have come across is that it’s an introduction of competition. Something that will always cause an issues, of course the taxi services would be annoyed having to compete not only between each other but also now with another uprising competitor. Now a lot of taxi drivers have highlighted the issue but coming from this taxi driver in particular this point seemed more disconcerting.
After talking to and learning more I asked this man about his background and soon found that he had his doctorate and worked for a pharmacist. Not just dispensing but developing, he was a bio chemical engineer, I couldn’t believe it. It was shocking and upsetting for me to see that this man had worked for so long and then had moved over to Australia and now working as a Taxi driver.
I kept talking to him and I started to not feel as bad, he explained quite eloquently that this is simply how it is. He understood competition on a whole other level. Competition for him meant over 12 years of study and 10+ years of work experience and still grinding. Moving over to a land for him that still had more opportunity and being transitioned into a different job due to its competitiveness.
Back to the Uber situation, competition from them was not an issue for this taxi driver, but an inevitable challenge. One that he considered not a setback but simply a way of life. Even though he had been moved to a completely new industry, competition is always going to be an issue and it was seeing the determination to continue to strive through that makes me appreciate the efforts of hard work.
Lewis, D. (2015, January 15). Illegal ride-sharing service UberX outsmarts transport inspectors, disrupting undercover stings. Retrieved from ABC NEWS: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-14/uberx-outsmarts-taxi-inspectors-by-blocking-mobile-phones/6016940