What do VCR players, asbestos and taxis all have in common? At one point they were hot shit. Arguably the hottest shit. They were the bees knees, the top of the line, they were unquestionably essential. But over the course of time, they became out-dated, all replaced. And in the case of asbestos, found to cause a myriad of cancers.
The Victorian Government has taken twelve Uber drivers to court for offering an illegal taxi service. Apparently to get a taxi plate costs as much as $300,000 a year and the drivers have to pass a bunch of tests to be qualified for the job. Which is weird for me because every cab driver I’ve ever had has never known where the fuck they were going. Even if they did know, they took me the longest possible route just for the lols (money).
Yet somehow they must’ve passed some tests because they are bloody livid at the fact Uber offers a quicker service, in a nicer car, where you never have to deal with that awkward do I have cash – if I use a card am I going to get skimmed to hell – where is my card? – situation.
The fact is, taxi drivers of Australia, you have been replaced. You have been usurped. You have been conquered by an opponent that does what you do, just cheaper, nicer, faster and easier. And look, that isn’t an easy thing to take. When DVD came out being like, ‘Yo. you never have to rewind me homie. I’m already rewound. You can fit more of me on yo shelf. Come get some,’ I am sure that the VCR players of the world cried themselves to sleep knowing that their time was up.
The Victorian Government however, is not seeing the changing of guard here. They are failing to recognise that Australia has moved on since the nineties. That we don’t want to be overcharged and driven round the suburbs for a few hours because some poor bugger working a twelve hour shift needs to make enough cash to pay for his plates. That system is demented, and we don’t want to be a part of it any more.
The time has come for change, but more to the point, the time has come for the powers that be to recognise when someone has had a bloody good idea. Ride sharing companies like Uber are such an idea, and all these court cases do is make people realise what they want: something cheap, efficient and easy.
Please realise this, government.
Words by Patrick Cullen. Photo by Emmanuel Rosario.