Holding the tide back with a shovel

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By Font Strategic Partner Tom O’Meara

It won’t happen without angst, but trying to hold back the Uberization of Industry in Australia is like trying to hold back the tide with a shovel.

With the State Government advising the community that it will introduce legislation to allow Uber to operate a ‘ridesharing service’ you can expect this to be the start of trying to take some control of the International movement.

The Hodgman Government has realised change is inevitable and taking a responsible approach, has merged the change with a review of the taxi and hire vehicle industries, with the current traditional industry the potential loser.

Uber is regulated in NSW and ACT with WA considering a similar approach as Tasmania which is to allow for road sharing services under simular rules as luxury hire cars. Drivers will need to pass medical, police and working with children checks and the vehicles must be registered, insured and open to inspection.

The winners are clients who will pay less and the management team co-ordinating the communication with driver. The main losers are today’s taxi drivers and owners who will find it difficult to compete with the reduced fares because of the legislated costs and taxes, as well the potential zero value of the once gold-like taxi licence.

Expect this to be the tip of the iceberg with the Uber movement, relentless in its attack on traditional business.

I caught up with a renowned Uber expert, Blair Richardson, one of eight international speakers at a convention in Queensland last year. He explained how the movement started in the US in 2009 by a couple of young guys who didn’t want to own anything, didn’t want to grow anything, didn’t want to build anything and didn’t want to employ anyone. They just wanted to make a whole lot of money in today’s so called shared economy.

To do this they decided to take on something that someone else had built but was now inefficient and created some solutions, very acidic solutions to the traditional industry. As of October last year, Blair advised me the company was now worth $10billion US and operating in 56 countries.

With virtually no costs, the business is basically technology focused the social networks with an understanding of trends. The mission is to offer ‘transportation as reliable as running water everywhere for everyone’.

It’s interesting that the Uber movement was created for the demographic cohort born between the 1980’s and early 2000. This is the generation demanding Uber but the concept is now picked up by all generations.

Having spent some time in Tasmania, Blair believes Tasmania was the ideal microcosm of the US movement particularly through agriculture, transport and hospitality industry.

An obvious case of watch this space.

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