We all know them, most of us have used them, ride-sharing apps are more popular now than ever before. With the Taxi industry in Australia failing to modernise its services to align with the smartphone era, it really should come as no surprise that ride-sharing apps, like Uber, are taking over the market. Whilst the terms ‘ride-sharing’ and ‘Uber’ are often synonyms, ride-sharing actually dates back far longer than the foundation of Uber in 2009 (2012 in Australia).
Following its Australian launch in 2012, Uber has not only become an innovative and convenient new class of point-to-point transport, but the name itself has become a verb. It’s so prevalent in our lives that you’ll often hear tech-savvy companies describe themselves as the ‘Uber’ of their own field. But with this meteoric rise of a company, there’s bound to be competitors hot on its tail.
So, we’ve decided to get to the nitty-gritty of these ride-sharing apps and tell you which ones you should be downloading today and the ones you should be avoiding. And questioning the ultimate question, is Uber still king?
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How did Uber begin?
It’s hard to think back, before the launch of Uber, that we would wait in a phone queue to order a taxi, only to be met with inexcusable fair charge. Not to mention having to watch that meter climb as you think about your wallet getting lighter. The market has changed dramatically since then, thanks to the introduction of ride-sharing apps. In its early years Uber faced some legal challenges in Australia, but their ‘we’re going to do this anyway’ approach paid off, massively.
Uber was technically operating illegally, but that didn’t impact it’s popularity, much to the dismay of taxi companies and drivers across the country. By the time Uber was made legal in Victoria, the last state to do so, they owned 100% of the ride-share market and the sky was the limit.
Of course with the legislation of ride-sharing swiftly brought competition in numbers. Today we are spoilt for choice with competitors such as Ola and Didi entering the fray in 2018. Whilst initially starting slowly and matching Uber for price, these companies are starting to find their rhythm and people are noticing.
What other companies are like Uber?
Since Uber’s Australian launch in 2012, plenty of popular alternatives for Uber have popped up in Australia’s capital cities, like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. A of these few popular ride-sharing apps include:
However, only a few, mainly Ola and DiDi have threatened to dethrone the long-reigning Uber.
Uber vs Didi vs Ola: The Battle Royale
We’ve compared Australia’s 3 main ride-share apps so you don’t have to. It’s important to note that all these ride-share apps offer the same product, however, their serves can vary significantly. We hope this guide can save you some hard-earned cash when travelling hope on a Friday night, or getting that comfort and convenience leaving the airport. Whatever it may be, we’ve got you covered.
What is the best ride-sharing app?
When comparing the difference between Uber, Ola and Didi; pricing and overall value is what we look for. Below we’ve used Sydney ride-sharing prices to give you a better idea of the different companies pricing schemes. It’s important to keep in mind that these might differ between Australian capital cities but not significantly.
|Cost of 10min/5km trip
|Cost of 30min/15km trip
|Cost of 60min/30km trip
As you can see, Didi comes out on top in terms of value. You’ve probably heard the buzz around town about Didi. It’s come out of nowhere, thanks to its promotions enticing customers to choose them over Uber. Following its launch in Brisbane, users were delighted with the offer of $15 free Saturdays. Whilst Uber tends to apply a surcharge on Saturdays due to a rise in users, Didi saw an opening in the market to capitalize on new customers, and people have been jumping on it.
Now, we know price isn’t the only influencer when choosing a particular service or product. You also look at brand reliability and quality of the service. As Uber already has a cemented presence in the market, with a trusted brand, it’s fair to say people may be inclined to rely on the service.
If you’ve got the storage room on your phone, we suggest shopping around and downloading all three apps to get the best bang for your buck. The competition between these apps is at an all-time high, meaning many of the above providers are offering discounts and promotions.
Other promotions offered by Uber, Didi and Ola include:
- $20 off for new Ola customers
- $5 off your first 4 rides with DiDi
Benefits of Using Uber and other Ride-Sharing Apps
The technology used to drive the platform is associated with the main benefits enjoyed by customers. Everything is accessible from the touch of a button. Below we’ve listed the main benefits enjoyed by customers:
Uber drivers are Everywhere! You can often find Uber drivers within a 2-minute radius if you’re in an inner-city area. If you head out further into the burbs you can probably expect to wait between 5-10 minutes depending on your location. (overall average wait time for UberX is 4.46 mins compared to Taxi’s 7.79 mins).
The payments couldn’t be more simple! Uber’s integrated payment system means your payment is processed after a trip through your details already stored in the system.
Simple to use Technology! Uber’s simple application allows easy ride requests and the ability to track your driver’s arrival time and dropoff location. Even your tech-tragic parents can use it.
Save money ridin’ with your friends! Uber allows you to simply split fares with your friends also riding with you, making it more economically viable for everyone.
Are Ride-sharing Apps Set to Overtake Taxis in Australia?
It’s in our nature to look back at the past in a ‘grass is always greener’ kind of way, but the slowly dying taxi industry seems to be an exception. It seems like no one is nostalgic for the days before you could simply pull Uber up on your phone and order a ride. In fact, point-to-point transport never seemed like privilege, more of an unnecessary chore. That was until Uber came along.
Uber and other similar ride-sharing apps are more like a friend, who drops everything to come and pick you up to take you to your desired location. Of course, that friend will charge you, but for a service that is cheaper, more personable and more comfortable than a Taxis.
It should come as no surprise that Uber is inches away from taking over taxis as Australia’s preferred form of point-to-point transport. 4.4 million Aussies currently use Uber while 4.5 million Aussies currently use Taxis.
What does the Future Hold for Ride-sharing Apps?
Ride-sharing was and continues to be a game-changer and we can only expect more of it in the future. Maybe the success of apps like Uber might force the taxi industry to clean up their act to encourage more millennial and young people to choose taxis. The thought of this is unlikely, considering all the taxi industry has done since the launch of uber is moan and whinge rather than being proactive.
More and more companies will start to enter the market, but the question remains – Will Uber ever be dethroned as the ride-share king? In the next 5 year? Probably not. Uber at this point in time has such a large portion of the market share that it would take a miracle (or disaster) for it to be overtaken at the top spot. However, apps such as Didi and Ola are rising fast so it will be interesting to see how long they can keep these promotions and discounts that’s earned most of their customers in the first place.
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