Does anyone use traditional taxis anymore? When you’re on a night out, how often do you hear your friend say, “it’s time to call a taxi”? Probably not as often as you once did, hey? The good old canary yellow cabs have been scarce in the streets of Melbourne over the last few years, thanks to the dominating trend of ride-sharing services.
The rise of ride-sharing services can be attributed to their easy and fuss free operations in requesting and paying for rides. Unlike traditional taxis, ride-sharing apps charge on card, so no cash handing is necessary.
Up to now, ride-sharing giant Uber has been leading the market. However, this may not be for long as other international ride-sharing companies have arrived in Australia. Offering lower fares and better incentives, Australians now have more options to choose from. Within the last year, Taxify, Ola Cabs and Shebah have all begun operations in many of Australia’s major cities – creating a ride-sharing war. We’ve compared each ride-sharing company below to help you decide who to get your lift from this weekend.
Founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp came up with the idea of Uber after they were left stranded on a snowy evening in Paris, unable to find a cab. Originally named UberCab, Uber began operating in 2009 and has since spread to over 633 cities around the world. It is the largest and most popular ride-sharing company, which has now expanded to include meal delivery service UberEats. Uber has dominated the ride-sharing market in Australia since its initial launch in 2012.
A trip from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne CBD (20 kilometres, 40 minutes) using Uber will cost approximately $45 with UberX.
Estonian transportation network company, Taxify began operating in August 2013. Founder Markus Villig was 19 when he started the company with his brother Martin. Since then, Taxify has grown to operate in many countries across the globe, including Australia, France, Canada, Hungry, Mexico, Serbia, South Africa and 19 others. Currently Taxify offers rides in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney for Aussies.
To break into the Australian ride-sharing market and keep up with fierce competition from Uber and other ride sharing companies, Taxify offered a free first ride for Australians valued up to $20.
A trip from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne CBD (20 kilometres, 40 minutes) using Taxify will cost approximately $39.55.
Ola Cabs was founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. It has since become a large ride sharing company in Asia, connecting users to drivers in over 110 cities. Ola Cabs began ride-sharing in Australia early this year and has since become popular due to their generous free ride offers. “Ola offered two free first rides, valued up to $20 for new users,” said Ola Cabs rider Amanda Xu.
Ola Cabs offers rides in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Canberra. Like Uber, Ola Cabs gives users the choice of which car they would like to ride in depending on number of people.
A trip from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne CBD (20 kilometres, 40 minutes) using Ola Cabs will cost approximately $39.35.
Girls, let’s be honest – do you feel anxious to ride alone at night? Well, you don’t need to stress about that anymore because Shebah is Australia’s first ever all female ride-sharing service. Shebah was conceived and created in Australia and has been operating since its launch on International Women’s Day 2017. Shebah offers rides in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide and Perth.
Rides are available to all women, children and boys up to the age of 18 if accompanied by a female guardian. Shebah believes women need more access to economic opportunity, which is why their drivers keep 85% of their fares. Also, Shebah donates 1% of your fare to one of their three charities, PANDA, Northern CASA and Women’s Housing Ltd.
A trip from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne CBD (20 kilometres, 40 minutes) using Shebah will cost approximately $45.55.
All four of these ride-sharing companies operate similar apps where users can request rides from pick up points. “All three apps work the same, the only upside to Uber is that instead of giving you a fare estimate like the other apps do, they give you the exact price you will be charged for the trip. There aren’t any surprises later,” said regular ride-share user, Amanda Xu.
Ms Xu shared that she did not notice major differences between the ride-sharing companies during the ride, apart from the slightly longer waiting time for the newer companies. “Taxify and Ola had a little longer waiting time for my driver to arrive at my pick-up point, but it was only a couple minutes more than an average Uber. Once they pick up momentum and get more drivers, then that won’t be an issue.”
The biggest differences between companies have been the incentives offered and lower fare. “From my experiences, Taxify and Ola have been consistently cheaper than Uber, by around a few dollars each time,” said Ms Xu.