A new taxi app and website called Ticktoc has launched in Victoria and unlike other ride-sharing services it is “completely legal” says CEO John Sajadi.
Customers will have access to over 250 hire cars and 500 taxis, which are accredited by the state’s Transport Legislation Amendment (Taxi Services Reform and Other Matters) Act 2011.
The app includes a barcode reader which operates similarly to Victoria’s public transport system myki. According to Sajadi, its GPS mapping technology is highly accurate so customers know exactly how far away and where their car is.
Rates are calculated from the pick-up and drop-off location, meaning no fluctuations or tariffs. Customers can view driver ratings, manage trip details and pay through the app without surcharges.
Driver details and history are sent through to the passenger beforehand so customers can see that their drivers are licensed.
Customers can select a luxury vehicle, van or taxi.
Sajadi has plans to launch the service in New South Wales in January 2016, followed by expansion into China and the United States.
According to Sajadi, services offered by Cabcharge taxis are “not customer-friendly.”
“On top of the 5 per cent surcharge for credit and debit card payments, there is no flexibility for options such as advanced booking or mobile payment. But with Ticktoc, users make advanced bookings weeks in advance, and hop into their booked car and tap for payment without worrying about any surcharge,” he said.
“With the government crackdown on illegal ride-share services and growing passenger discontent over price monopolisation of the taxi industry, there is a pressing need for an alternative option in the hire car and taxi market which incorporates the latest technology, is price-competitive but also meets regulation standards.”
In November 2014, Victoria’s Taxi Services Commission issued a cease-and-desist letter for the UberX service for safety reasons because the service does not require drivers to be accredited. Queensland and NSW have also taken action against UberX.
However, Uber has pointed out that thousands of new jobs have been created, with 1100 new ridesharing partner drivers joining the Uber platform every month across Australia.
UberX drivers in Sydney typically work 20 hours per week and earn $2500 per month, it said.
iHail appThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is set to deny authorisation to
Cabcharge’s ihail app as according to the watchdog, it would have a significant impact on competition in the taxi industry.
In a draft report released this week, the ACCC argues that the app could impact taxi prices and quality of service.
Members of the ihail joint venture include Yellow Cabs, Silver Top Taxi Service, Black and White Cabs, Suburban Taxis and Cabcharge (ASX: CAB).
As well as providing in-taxi payment terminals to most taxis in Australia, Cabcharge operates Silver Service and Taxis Combined in Sydney, Newcastle Taxis and 13CABS in Melbourne and Adelaide.
ACCC estimates that the initial ihail shareholders represent more than half of all taxis in Australia, and a larger share in the metropolitan areas where the app would operate.
In response, Cabcharge CEO Andrew Skelton said the Australian marketplace currently operates with a number of similar apps, including some big global players, which presents “significant competition” in the local market.
“The decision regarding ihail Pty Ltd will not impact Cabcharge’s own booking apps for its Australian taxi brands,” he said.
The ACCC is seeking submissions from ihail and interested parties before making a final decision by December 2015.