Australian taxi drivers and ride-hailing companies headed by Uber are receiving a huge hit from the COVID-19 outbreak. This is as the need falls by about 70% as airports are abandoned, CBDs become zombie towns and bars and restaurants are momentarily closed.
Blair Davies, the chief executive of sector body and the Australian Taxi Industry Association, stated that the taxi sector and ride-hailing companies were fairly impacted.
Mr Davies stated that demand is notably down. “The biggest originating destination for taxis is the airport,” he added.
The share prices of ASX-listed companies A2B Ltd, which operates the 13cabs chain with 9800 cars, and P2P Transport, which has a line of 2000 cars rented out to taxi operators, cab drivers and ride-sharing operators, and also operates the Black & White Cabs chain, have experienced heavy drops.
A2B Ltd, identified as Cabcharge until an identity switch in 2018, has fallen 56% since February 21, when it was selling at $1.47. P2P Transport is in a selling standstill until Wednesday awaiting an update to the business, with its stocks at just 4.4¢.
The firm registered on the ASX in late 2017 in sailing with an edition price of $1.32. One year ago P2P Transport stocks were getting 40¢.
The ATIA’s Mr Davies stated that with several individuals working remotely, and video-conferencing instead of holding face-to-face conferences, the corporate business was also being affected hard.
People are staying indoors
Journeys in the leisure industry had as well had an acute downturn since the federal government declared restrictions on bars and eateries. “Nobody is going out,” he stated.
Mr Davies on remarks by the international chief of Uber about ten days ago stating passenger rides had dropped 60 to 70% in some American towns. He stated that the level of need fall was probably being recreated in Australia.
Uber Australia refused to clarify on Tuesday on the effect on its 63,000 operators in Australia, or how much interest had dropped.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber chief executive wrote a note on March 23 to US President Donald Trump requesting him to offer support to “gig” staff whose wages had been reduced considerably.
Mr Davies stated that several taxi operators were individual traders and were examining the fine print of the federal government’s JobKeeper scheme, stated on Monday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to confirm if they passed.
Also, he stated that around 10% of Australia’s Fleet of 25,000 taxis had the ability to provide wheelchair access and that was a crucial service.
Taxis were now asking that every passenger sits in the rear seat to stick to social distancing regulations.
A2B has begun a big modernisation initiative and spent in new technology and a reimaging to offer 13 cabs a more modern appearance and feel in the fight against ride-hailing companies like Ola, Didi, and Uber.
Further, A2B has ordered taxi owners to withdraw old cars from the roads under age restrictions that started in 2019, January.