Uber v Taxi FARES TEST: Cheaper alternative?

THE highly-anticipated launch of Uber in Hervey Bay brings the promise of cheaper fares for transport, but is there a larger cost to saving a buck?

In light of the announcement the ride-sharing app is coming to the region, the Fraser Coast Chronicle has compared the price of Uber and Hervey Bay Taxis for destinations from its office at Central Avenue to popular surrounding areas.

Investigations reveal that by choosing to travel with Uber X, you could be saving about 30 per cent on the local cab's price.

The fare gap between Uber and local taxis shows varying results from as low as 26.9 per cent if you were to make the road trip to Maryborough and as large as 33.5 per cent travelling to Urangan Pier.

Patrons would save just over $17 for a trip to Toogoom dropping off at Goody's on the Beach while locals looking to beat the heat at Urangan Pier will be saving at least $7.

Day trippers can expect to pay $57.85 by taking an Uber to Maryborough Town Hall, a saving of about $21 compared to Hervey Bay Taxis' $79 fare.

While Hervey Bay Taxis did not respond to requests for comment, the Taxi Council Queensland said dollars spent with local businesses meant regional areas backed community members.

Chief executive officer Blair Davies said taxi prices supported higher insurance fees than Uber, better security and were in line with government-set tariffs.

"Taxis have to pay around $4000 for a Compulsory Third Party and Ubers pay around $560 for the same licence," he said.

"You will find that although at a standard rate Uber is cheaper, surge pricing in Uber means taxis then become cheaper."

Surge pricing means Uber rides are more expensive to match driver supply to rider demand.

Uber increases normal fares in busy periods when there are more riders than drivers or when customer wait times are long, something Mr Davies said taxis did not do.

"Taxis operate with two tariffs, for example they are on a more expensive tariff at night times and public holidays but we do not increase prices if there is increased demand," he said.

"Customers looking for the cheapest possible service at any given time may find it could be a taxi or it may be an Uber.

"We calculate our fares on the basics of time and distance, we expect our cabbies to take the shortest possible distance to get somewhere and there is a GPS in their car to check they are doing this.

Mr Davies said regional communities needed to look after each other for their long term good.

"We don't see Uber's cheap prices staying that low forever once they drive everyone else out of the market," he said.

Uber State Manager for Queensland Alex Golden said it was great to see such a positive reception to Uber coming to the region.

"We're confident that locals will see great value in Uber as a safe and reliable alternative.

*An earlier version of this story was published incorrectly as the trip in an Uber to Maryborough was $17.85. This has been corrected.