The decision to let public servants rideshare comes in the wake of the legalisation of services like Uber and GoCar in NSW in December last year.
In another body blow to Cabcharge, State Finance Minister Property Dominic Perrottet said this week that his would be the first NSW government department to include ride-sharing in the work travel mix, as part of a push to reduce the government’s overall travel expenditure.
Cabcharge has already been damaged by digital disruption. The company’s shares fell sharply around September last year, partly due to competition from local taxi booking apps like goCatch but also because ride-sharing apps like Uber have made deep in-roads into the market.
As well, new laws slashing surcharges paid on taxi rides from ten per cent to five per cent also depressed Cabcharge’s share price.
Mr Perrottet said there was no reason the benefits of ride-sharing couldn’t flow through to governments, including the savings it could deliver.
“Governments shouldn’t be shackled to legacy systems and processes – we should move with the times and take advantage of what the collaborative economy has to offer,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Sometimes public servants need to get around quickly and conveniently in the course of their work, but last financial year the NSW Government spent more than $8 million on taxis alone,” he said.
“If adding ride-sharing to the transport mix for public servants means we can save taxpayer dollars, we shouldn’t waste any time exploring that option.”
But there is not a blanket ban on catching cabs. DFSI staff travelling for work are allowed to choose the option that is the best value and the most suitable, whether it’s catching a bus, train, taxi or requesting an Uber X.
Canberra’s parliamentarians and staffers got the green light to use Uber for work last December, after it was legalised two month’s earlier in the ACT.
The government is considering extending the option to ride-share at work to other NSW government departments and agencies in the coming months.
Mr Perrottet, a known enthusiast of the sharing economy, has put travel and pool cars under the microscope as an area where some decent savings can be found by the government.
His order to abolish NSW’s StateFleet takes effect later this year when NSW government will outsource fleet management and move from buying pool cars to vehicle leasing agreements.
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