Traditional taxi companies will be hoping the Government comes down harshly on controversial app company Uber when it sets new rules for the industry later this year.
But the Government is already signalling that won’t be the case. Ride-sharing innovations, such as Uber, are being touted as the next big revolution on our roads, paving the way for a future in which many of us will no longer need to bother owning a car at all.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has heard the talk and knows New Zealand needs to keep pace with the technology.
In January, the Government announced it would review the rules governing the taxi industry to make sure they were fit for purpose in the wake of Uber’s arrival.
The results of that review are due later this year. But Bridges signalled that the Government would be taking the “lightest touch” possible to regulation so ridesharing technology can flourish.
“I’ve always thought that in politics you’re on the side of the angels if what you’re doing is good for consumers, and ultimately this will be,” he said.
“What I want to see is a regime that allows for new technological innovations, but is safe. Some change is required, but we’re open to where that goes.”
That is very promising. Not only does Uber provide a much better service than traditional taxis, it makes it much easier to ride share – which can help reduce congestion.
Ran into a friend on a flight to Auckland and we decided to share a car in – both of us are Uber users. Normally this means one person pays, and shouts the other as who has cash to reimburse. But Uber has a button on the app called Split Fare and if you agree, you both get billed half.
So good to see the Government is looking to allow innovative new challengers, which benefit the consumer – rather than protect current players.