Consumer advocate group Choice has published findings of an investigation comparing taxis and ride-sharing services in Australia. As reported in The Guardian today:
Choice found little evidence to support the claim by the New South Wales Taxi Council – printed on billboards around Sydney – that ride-sharing services such as UberX were “no safer than hitchhiking”.
The UberX feature, which connects passengers with registered private vehicles, has triggered protests around the world by the taxi industry, including earlier this month in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
But ride-sharing has taken off in Australia, and was used more than 1m times in the year to May, Uber says.
Investigators from Choice compared 28 taxi rides to the same number of trips using UberX. They found that taxis were more expensive nine times out of 10, and by an average of 40%.
Only with surge pricing – which boosts the cost of a UberX trip when demand is high – did taxis become cheaper, by about 6% in most instances.
Twice, the booked taxis failed to show up, which Choice’s spokesman, Tom Godfrey, put down to drivers finding longer, more expensive fares.
“Part of the problem may be that taxi drivers are told the passenger’s destination, which may make short trips less attractive. Uber drivers, on the other hand, aren’t given your destination until they turn up,” Godfrey said.
In about 62% of cases, a car booked through UberX arrived more quickly than a taxi.
Choice’s full findings can be found here.