Dying someone else’s death

It is interesting to see recent commentary on both the taxi industry, in particular in relation to Uber, and the newsagent business model where both are facing an even more perilous future.

Often we will see businesses that have failed due to their own inability or unwillingness to read the market and react accordingly. It is the Darwinian process of natural selection that brings about the inevitable as business operators fail to provide the customer with what they want. I acknowledge that what is sometimes desired may be illegal or it may not be commercial but it is (honest) business that bridges the gap and provides the closest thing that is either legal or commercial.

Regrettably what does hurt though is when you see someone die as a result of someone else’s errors or stupidity.

Newsagents are suffering from the reduction in sales of their products one of these being magazines. Now I have been a magazine reader for many years and remember the joyous days of calling in at the newsagents to pick up my latest copies. Regrettably over time it became more and more common that I would miss and issue because the importer had not obtained, any, enough, late and thus returned, etc., or some other excuse that meant I missed out. When you raised the issue with the newsagent seeking an answer on how it could be rectified, they all said the same thing, “nothing, the importer does not care, you have nowhere else to go.” So confronted by blunt indifference I did what any real consumer does, – finds a new line of supply, and ever since then I simply solved the problem by subscribing directly with the publisher and supporting the mail system. Alas, the newsagent lost his cut.

Same with taxis, the customer on the side of the road wants someone to come along and pick them up and take them to their destination. Any reasonable person requesting this service would expect to pay their share for the driver’s time, the depreciation of the vehicle, the direct costs of its operation, reasonable insurance, appropriate registrations and a reasonable cost of a calling system if you used it. Alas what gets added to this is a significant return to an investor that continually pushed up the price of the investment, excessive add on charges by operators, extreme insurance costs and other regulatory charges. Everyone that could had a gouge! Even then if paid by credit card you were gouged again by someone who controlled the industry.

Customers were over it and would seek out almost any alternative as trip costs from the CBD to the more affordable suburbs could easily exceed $200, and that was not counting the return trip costs if you cross one of those magical bridges! Further if Cabcharge really thinks it has a total grip on the industry then I’d like to understand why basically all cabs carry two card machines?

It is ultimately the customer that will determine what they want, and what they will pay, and it is the business or the industry that must comply. Not to do so is to become a dinosaur.

You can survive even if your industry is determined not too! There is plenty of room for turnaround, but the key is getting advice early and acting on it.

We would love to ensure that you do not become a dinosaur.

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