Ride-sharing apps put to commercial use

It’s a new method of pizza delivery, and one small business owner says it has the potential to save him on delivery costs. 

Dan Gold, owner of the newly established MELT Pizza located on Melbourne’s Chapel Street, has opted to use ride sharing app UberX to deliver his Napoli-style woodfired pizzas to customers.

Mr Gold boasts that he is the first business to use the controversial app for a commercial purpose and, following a successful trial of the new technology on Saturday May 3, will adopt it to routinely service his home delivery customers.

Under the arrangement, customers will be able to have their pizza delivered free of charge if they live within 3kms of the inner city store and spend more than $35.

“An everyday driver is able to become a driver for Uber and ultimately now assist a business like myself,” the 29-year-old told Dynamic Business.

“From a customer’s perspective it’s simple. They phone us up and order their pizza delivery over the telephone and we take a payment just for their food and beverage order.

“The we get on our iPhone, we contact one of the UberX drivers through the iPhone app. The pizza’s ready. The driver collects that. It’s delivered to our customers very fast.

“If you compare that to us having our own full suite of delivery drivers and vehicles and whatnot, they could be running around town and we could run out of cars.

“If you walk past a big delivery pizza chain you often see eight or nine bikes out there. God knows how much they must cost.”

UberX provides a controversial new low cost transport service. It allows regular private car owners to provide a taxi service provided they are at least 25, own at least a 2005 model four-door car, have no criminal record and are insured.

However, the legality of the riding sharing service has been thrown into doubt in NSW, with the state transport authority declaring that all drivers need to act within the boundaries of the Passenger Transport Act.

“The law is clear and has not changed: if a NSW driver is taking paying members of the public as passengers, the driver and the vehicle must operate in accordance with the Passenger Transport Act,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said. “Under the Act, such services must be provided in a licensed taxi or hire car, by an appropriately accredited driver, authorised by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).”

Breaching the act may incur prosecution and a fine of up to $110,000.

In Melbourne, Victorian Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel has welcomed the prospect of more competition but stressed ride-share drivers would need to be properly regulated.

Mr Gold suggested his idea successfully navigated the legal pitfalls associated with ride-sharing as there were no passengers in the cars.

“The Taxi Services Commission is whinging about Uber and it’s right to carry paying passengers. They are yet to whinge about Uber being used to carry Australia’s tastiest pizza,” he said.

  • http://carmacarpool.com Nathan Richardson

    A further interesting evolution of the ‘ride-sharing’ idea. It’s great to see innovation, especially from small businesses.

    Although it’s the lack of actual ride sharing that is causing companies like Lyft and Uber to run into trouble is that what they are doing is, despite having taken over the term ‘ride-sharing’, is not actually ridesharing.

    Is a taxi driver ride sharing? No, of course not. They aren’t ‘sharing’ anything if what they are doing is for profit. And this is why local authorities are cracking down. Uber and Lyft drivers are doing what they do to make a profit, and the people in power can’t see how they differ from taxi drivers apart from the lack of regulation.

    On the other hand Carma truely IS ride sharing, as in people actually sharing a ride. Not for profit, but because they are making the same journey. Drivers only get a contribution towards the cost of the trip.