Would you like a puppy dog and a side of fries with your ride?

(Uber 2016)

(Uber 2016)

Uber is a marvel.

It galvanises the public, with new product launches and promotions offering to move everything from people and food to puppies, and packages.

It rouses a worldwide legion of taxi drivers to take up arms and hold city streets to ransom, leaving politicians scratching their heads as to how to regulate a taxi service, that is , well,  technically not a taxi service.

Unless you have been hiding out in an arctic snow cave, you will no doubt be aware that Uber has caused quite a stir around the world since its inception in 2010.

But why exactly does Uber evoke so much emotion?

Melbourne taxi drivers march through CBD in protest against Uber (Currie 2015)

Melbourne taxi drivers march through the CBD in protest against Uber
(Currie 2015)

Life before Uber

I remember life before Uber with clarity.

Endlessly waiting for booked cabs that never arrived. Hours wasted on the phone to operators who never answered your call. Frustrated attempts to hail cabs after dark, only to be refused service because your short ride was not worth their while.

But above all, it was the trepidation of stepping into a stranger’s car as a lone female, in the blind faith, you would be taken home  safely.

My dissatisfaction with Melbourne’s taxi services echoed the sentiment of an entire city and  resonated across the globe.

(Bodkin 2013)

(Bodkin 2013)

The road to progress

‘We’re also going after those hundreds of micro-pain points all over the city. Go out on the streets and ask people – every New Yorker has a few that they’re passionate about. Uber is going where New Yorkers get stuck, where the options are few and far between, and bringing everything we can to make life easier’ (Uber 2011).

Garrett  Camp and Travis Kalanick created Uber after finding themselves  stranded on a Paris street, unable to locate a cab to take them back to their hotel.

Experiencing the problems from a customer’s perspective, Camp & Kalanick, took an ‘outside-in’ approach to product development (Iacobucci 2013), developing a new service to address problems long experienced by consumers, but for years neglected by a complacent taxi industry.

The result was a simple yet effective service, which delivered benefits beyond the core consumer need of getting from point A to B, instead focusing on intangible value add’s, that dramatically improved the customer experience as evidenced by the 8 million users worldwide, who have embraced its offerings.

Uber’s widely successful adoption can be credited to 3 key factors;

(Daily Doodl 2015)

It’s straightforward and easy to use , allowing users to hail a cab with the push of a button.

It’s seeming compatibility to the needs of the consumer, enabling them to get from point A to B with minimal effort.

The significant advantages it provides over services offered by the taxi industry.

Helping the customer

Christensen,  Raynor and Anthony (2003)  encapsulated the spirit of disruptive innovation in a simple sentence ‘Don’t try to change your customers – help them‘.

Deloitte (2016) described how Uber has achieved this by measuring the benefits it offers Australian consumers in comparison to the taxi industry. Some of these benefits include

  • Lower fares
  • Reduced wait times
  • Greater accessibility to transport in ‘black hole’ areas
  • Increased perceived passenger safety

(Deloitte 2016)

(Deloitte 2016)

It’s these differentiated value-adds that set Uber apart from the taxi industry, compelling 80% of customers to rate its service as 5 stars, well above taxi satisfaction ratings, propelling it’s growth through experiential word of mouth recommendations.


A Fork in the Road

(Payne 2014)

(Payne 2014)

I became an Uber customer in 2013, after recounting yet another distasteful taxi experience to work colleagues. Working in a team filled with early adopter’s of innovations, they assured me that Uber would solve all my problems. I never looked back.

But this may change.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court handed down a ruling last December making it effectively illegal for Uber drivers to operate in Victoria.

The matter is now in the hands of our politicians, who will ultimately determine whether we will be allowed to continue down the road to progress, or be forced to make a U-Turn back to the past.

So as  politicians ponder our future, I ask you to consider these questions;

When was the last time you heard anyone complain about taxis?

When was the last time you heard anyone complain about their Uber ride?

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some thoughts from the people of Melbourne.

#YourTaxis Social Media Campaign



Angela Colantuono; Student Id 216002314;

WordPress Username acolantu;

Deakin Email acolantu@deakin.edu.au

Further reading

Arts, J, Frambach, R & Bijmolt, T 2011, ‘Generalizations on consumer innovation adoption: A meta-analysis on drivers of intention and behavior’, International Journal of Research in Marketing, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 134-144.

Botsman , R 2014, Why the law won’t stop Uber, Australian Financial Review, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.afr.com/it-pro/why-the-law-wont-stop-uber-20140710-j5vxw>.

Carson, B 2015, Uber is unleashing a delivery service Uber Rush, Business Insider retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/uber-rush-fedex-killer-released-2015-10>.

Christensen M,  Raynor M, Anthony , S 2003, Six Keys to Building New Markets by Unleashing Disruptive Innovation, Harvard Business School, retrieved April 24th 2016, <


Cowie, T 2015, ‘My cab driver fell asleep’: Taxi industry’s social media campaign backfire, Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/national/my-cab-driver-fell-asleep-taxi-industrys-social-media-campaign-backfires-20151109-gkuwis.html#ixzz46R46TOV3>.

Deloitte, 2016, The Economic Effects of Ridesharing in Australia, Deloitte, retrieved 21st April 2016, <https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/Economics/deloitte-au-economic-effects-ridesharing-australia-010216.pdf>.

Freier, A 2015, Uber usage statistics and revenue, Business of Apps, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.businessofapps.com/uber-usage-statistics-and-revenue/>.

Iacobucci, D 2013, MM4 Marketing Management, 6th Edition, Cengage Learning, Mason USA.

MacMillan, T 2015, Rise in Sexual Assaults Reported by Taxi Passengers, Wall Street Journal, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.wsj.com/articles/rise-in-sexual-assaults-reported-by-taxi-passengers-1452476904>.

News.com.au, 2011, Customer satisfaction with Melbourne’s taxi services hits all-time low , News.com.au, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.news.com.au/national/customer-satisfaction-with-melbournes-taxi-services-hits-all-time-low/story-e6frfkp9-1226054603164>.

Redrup, Y 2016,UberEATS launches in Melbourne, as foreign companies dominate takeout, Australian Financial Review, retrieved 21st April 2016,  <http://www.afr.com/technology/ubereats-launches-in-melbourne-as-foreign-companies-dominate-takeout-20160419-go9mz9>.

Robinson, L 2009, A summary of Diffusion of Innovations, Enabling Change, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.enablingchange.com.au/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf>.

Telegraph UK , 2015, Anti-Uber protests around the world in pictures, Telegraph UK, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/picture-galleries/11902080/Anti-Uber-protests-around-the-world-in-pictures.html?frame=3458905>.

The Age, 2013, We can’t ignore the reality of cab attacks, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/we-cant-ignore-the-reality-of-cab-attacks-20130920-2u56s.html>.

Tucker, H 2016, GoCatch is launching Australia’s first Uber X competitor , The Business Insider, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/gocatch-is-launching-australias-first-uber-x-competitor-2016-2>.

Schetzer A, Willingham R 2015, Uber driver Nathan Brenner fined $900 for driving hire car without licence or registration, The Age, retrieved 21st April 2016,<http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/uber-driver-nathan-brenner-found-guilty-of-driving-hire-car-without-licence-or-registration-20151204-glfcly.html#ixzz46QrwWY3b>.

Twitter, 2016, #yourtaxis, Twitter, retrieved 21st April 2016, <https://twitter.com/hashtag/yourtaxis>.

Uber, 2016, Always the ride you want The best way to get wherever you’re going, Uber, retrieved 21st April 2016, <https://www.uber.com/ride/>.

Uber, Chicago – Uber’s biggest Launch to date?, Uber, retrieved 21st April 2016, <https://newsroom.uber.com/us-illinois/chicago-ubers-biggest-launch-to-date/>.

Uber, 2016, Finding the way Creating possibilities for riders, drivers, and cities, Uber, , retrieved 21st April 2016, <https://www.uber.com/our-story/>

Uber, 2016, It’s a pawsome day, #UberPUPPIES are in town!, Uber, retrieved 21st April 2016, <https://newsroom.uber.com/australia/uberpuppies-au/>.

Willingham , R 2016, New licence category for Uber an option for Vic government on ride-sharing, The Age, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-licence-category-for-uber-an-option-for-vic-government-on-ridesharing-20160121-gmb742.html>.

Willingham R 2015, Uber remains illegal in Victoria despite NSW and WA green light, The Age, retrieved 21st April 2016, <http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/uber-remains-illegal-in-victoria-despite-nsw-and-wa-green-light-20151217-glqkhw.html>.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s