An Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal survey suggests UberX could see a surge of popularity when it arrives in Wollongong later this month. Picture: Eric RisbergWollongong could see a massive surge in ride-sharing once Uber enters the market, if recent figures are any guide.
Nanjing Night Net

But it might not damage the region’s taxis as much as is feared by some.

Uber’s NSW general manager Henry Greenacre announced last month that UberX would start in the Illawarra on March 16.

Ahead of that launch, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its latest survey of point-to-point transport use.

The report includes Wollongong in the category of “other urban areas”, along with Newcastle, Gosford and Wyong.

While Wollongong only has a small ride-share footprint, with the only provider being Go Buggy.

Newcastle and the Central Coast, however, have had the much larger presence of UberX since April last year – and these areas would account for the bulk of any change in ride-sharing use.

And there has been quite a change.According to the IPART survey, the use of ride-sharing in those urban areas outside Sydneyhas doubled from 9 per cent in 2015 to 18 per cent in November last year.

IPART chair Dr Peter Boxall said the survey found ride-share services appealed to people because they offered good value for money and better waiting times than taxis, “particularly on Friday and Saturday nights”.

However, thesurvey found the increase in ride-share use did not lead to a decrease in taxi use.

In urban areas outside Sydney, almost half of the respondents –44 per cent –said they’d used a taxi in the last six months.

“The proportion of people catching taxis has been largely unchanged since the survey was first conducted in 2012,” IPART chair Dr Peter Boxall said.

The survey also found that people who used ride-share were more likely to use taxis than people who don’t.

The survey claimedthis suggested ride-share encouragedpeople to use a mix of travel options.

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