Latest Black & White Cabs News
Oct 2, 2018
Share Ryan Stuart The chief executive of P2P Transport, a company which leases out 1,250 vehicles to taxi and ride-sharing operators and which has just acquired Black & White Cabs, says having a foot in both camps is the right model for the future even though investors who bought into last year's ASX listing are nursing substantial losses on paper. Tom Varga said on Tuesday that companies like Uber were facing fierce competition and something of a backlash against their surge pricing where passengers pay much-higher fares at busy times, and from drivers disgruntled at the higher commissions collected by Uber compared with other ride-sharing competitors. P2P Transport said on Tuesday it expects to save more than $1 million annually by rolling out the in-vehicle dispatch capabilities which came with the Black & White purchase to more of its fleet, and is also eyeing organic growth as more outside vehicles sign on to use the services. The company said it would achieve the cost savings by extending the Black & White Cabs primary and secondary network services to 700 vehicles owned by P2P in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, cutting out the fees that it would normally pay to third party network operators. The taxi and ride-sharing industry in Australia is undergoing major changes as offshore competitors with deep pockets try and claw away market share in a fiercely competitive sector. Millennial customers in particular are embracing ride-sharing but the taxi industry is fighting back by adopting new technology and highlighting the angst which comes from surge pricing used at busy times by high-profile firms like Uber. Advertisement A number of new competitors have started up in Australia in ride-sharing. European rival Taxify launched in Sydney at the end of last year, while Indian giant Ola chose Australia as its first foreign market. In July, Chinese rideshare giant Didi Chuxing, which transports 450 million clients through 25 million rides a day, began operating in Australia. P2P Transport has been positioning itself as a beneficiary of the growth of the personal transport market in Australia by providing the vehicles to drivers in both camps, but it has battled to win over investors after its 2017-18 profit and revenue results were below prospectus forecasts. P2P Transport listed on the ASX in mid-December, 2017 after raising almost $30 million in a float with an issue price of $1.32 per share. The shares are now trading 40 per cent below that price at around 79¢. Mr Varga said it would take time for the sharemarket to become comfortable with the strategies of P2P Transport. The company had brought forward some of its plans and was a pioneer in the personal transport market in Australia. "The core model is intact and makes sense," Mr Varga said. "We have accelerated a lot of our activities," he said. He said taxis were using the surge pricing model of Uber as a way of promoting their own services and were making headway in winning back soe market share. "No surge pricing does make a difference," he said. P2P Transport two weeks ago struck a deal with Telstra where it will invest $17 million over three years for the telco to provide the hardware and network services required to enable real-time, targeted advertising to be displayed digitally on 900 P2P vehicles, as the company taps into rising demand for outdoor advertising. The taxis will essentially become mobile advertising billboards.