Taxi app goCatch picks up $3m investment;
Uber offers ‘free’ week in Sydney



blog The race to reform Australia’s long-dormant taxi industry is on. Taxi 2.0 service Uber, which has been making waves in countries such as the US with its app-based service overlaid on top of the existing taxi system, this week announced a somewhat-free week in Sydney, allowing users up to $60 worth of credit on its service. Meanwhile the service which is emerging as its main local competitor, goCatch, just pulled in a cool $3 million in venture capital. Startup publication StartupSmart reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Co-founder and chief executive Andrew Campbell told StartupSmart the funds would enable them to wrestle a larger portion of the $4.5 billion in taxi fares per year, and to begin expanding overseas … the company currently has over 16,000 registered taxi drivers across every capital city in Australia”

Your writer hasn’t yet tried goCatch, but I tried Uber last night, and I have to say it was a very pleasant experience. You merely load the app on your smartphone (entering your credit card during the process), and then hit a couple of buttons to book one of several types of hire cars, including taxis. You can then see the approaching driver on your map, and get ready when they arrive.

No cash changes hands; the fee is automatically deducted from your credit card after you leave the cab. The only downside was the price — at $40 from the Eastern Suburbs to Sydney’s CBD, it was more expensive than we’re used to paying for taxis. But perhaps that was just last night’s congested traffic due to the rain.

It’ll be interested to test out goCatch over the next few weeks and see how it peforms. Of course, anything would be better than the existing taxi system. Your writer takes taxis frequently due to the nature of journalist work, and the way that most Sydney taxi services work is just terrible. Even if you book a taxi directly, often they don’t come, they come late, or the car is in poor condition when it does arrive. goCatch and Uber look to be taking significant steps to reform that process; and it’s about time.

Image credit: goCatch


  1. Renai, not sure how your comment on the higher price of the fare was relevant in this instance?

    Your fare comes straight off the meter and the credit card payment fees added by both Uber and GoCatch (~8%) are cheaper than the 10% fee you pay with LiveTaxi Pay / Cabcharge etc

    It seems to be a slightly unfair/disingenuous view on the fees paid when using an alternate product


    (I am no way associated with the taxi industry in any capacity, including the above companies)

  2. I use goCatch, and find it most agreeable – in essence, it replaces the radio room of the incumbent operators, but it uses the same pricing system and taxi infrastructure that already exist. With a small rule change, goCatch could have its own livery fairly easily.

    Uber I’m more suspicious of, as their strategy is essentially to move into an area, charge higher prices for a premium service, and attempt to get around existing legislation instead of trying to fit their operation into the existing market. Honestly I’m mostly suspicious of them because apparently the CEO’s an Objectivist.

    This doesn’t mean, though, that the taxi legislation in Sydney right now is worthy of our respect, particularly the rent-seeking around taxi license plates. The only people benefiting from the current setup are license owners, who are mostly Cabcharge. Maybe Uber will be better in the long run because, unlike goCatch, they’re baiting the government into a response.

  3. Renai,

    It doesn’t matter how you call a cab, whether it’s late or doesn’t turn up is dependent upon a whole lot of factors (taxi availability, traffic, time of day, etc) and the quality of the cab when it arrives hardly has anything to do with the way it’s booked, you’res still calling a cab from the same pool of cab companies.
    How are goCatch and Uber going to transform the quality of the car?
    (Disclaimer: we are the advertising agency for Yellow Cabs).

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