CCN abuses its power in campaign against ingogo promotion

Few cabbies are aware that Australian taxi app ingogo is the only independent booking service that has remained loyal its taxi drivers. In a recent move to boost its drivers’ income and customer service it launched ingogoFLAG in Sydney. It has enabled passengers to hail a cab and pay through its app. To promote this new initiative it provided its drivers with a small blue flag on a stick with a suction cup to place on the roof of their taxi so ingogo account holders, wishing to hail a cab rather than book one, could easily identify those affiliated with ingogo. It didn’t take long for Cabcharge owned CCN to flex its muscles posting messages on MTData terminals demanding that drivers sporting the flag remove it immediately. It had absolutely no right to make this demand. NSW ROAD and Maritime Services had approved the flag for use.

by Peer Lindholdt

Ridesharing so far has been legalised in five jurisdictions in Australia. The concept is a major threat to the taxi industry as long as it can’t compete on price.

There is an old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”. It didn’t take taxi app goCatch long to do just that when in February it announced the launch of it new ride-share service 'goCar'. Since then it has spent all its promotional efforts and dollars pushing the ride-share brand to the detriment of its taxi drivers.

But it gets worse! Cabcharge is getting in on the act. In the lead-up to the launch of the taxi industry cartels ‘ihail’ app, supposed to happen this month, Cabcharge has launched what appears to be a rideshare service in Maidland and Newcastle, using former taxis sporting private plates and the decals 13CABS Private Hire. If this in fact that is the case, it is reasonable to expect that a full rollout is on the cards.

Ingogo on the other hand, has ignored such temptations and has remained loyal to taxi drivers.

In a letter to drivers, ingogo founder Hamish Petrie wrote: “Over the past 4 1/2 years, ingogo has invested over $30 million to improve the income you earn and provide technology that enables you to compete in a rapidly evolving taxi market. We’re the only payments company that pays a meaningful commission to drivers along with a range of other bonuses, rewards and incentives.

One such incentive was a lottery, running from the start of March to the end of April, with a prize of a $10,000 Flight Centre Travel Voucher and $10,000 in spending money, open to every new driver joining the platform by referral by an existing ingogo driver and to the driver making the referral. The winner was drawn on 6 June. The lucky driver was Pranavkumar Mistry, a full-time cabbie who joined ingogo during the lottery period having been referred by a friend. Pranav came to Australia from India nine years ago and has been driving a taxi for the past 6 years. Having a wife and two kids, he says he likes the flexible hours the job gives him. His win will enable him to take his family back to India to see their families there, whom they haven’t seen for 5 years.

Hamish Petrie’s letter finished with these words: “I implore you to please use ingogoFLAG to get more jobs and to demonstrate your disapproval of yet more of the behaviour we’ve come to expect from them. And, if CCN takes any action against you for using our flag, please let us know immediately”.

“ingogo is here for drivers and we appreciate your support as we continue to grow!”

CCN’s bullying tactics are an abuse of power and as its lord and master, Cabcharge, is a major shareholder in the ‘ihail’ consortium, this kind of behaviour may be in breach of the rules imposed on ihail Pty Ltd by the ACCC as conditions for its accreditation. •

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OZ Cabbie February 2017

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