Rainer the Cabbie

About Rainer the Cabbie

Rainer is a Sydney-based old-time cabbie. Although he adores the general public, he much prefers listening to smooth jazz than being engaged in conversation. His ears are secretly in love with Julia Lester of ABC Classic FM.

The taxi app that’s an Uber pain for cabbies

Thanks to Uber, traditional taxis are going the way of the dinosaurs and unsurprisingly, our Rainer the Cabbie has one or two opinions on the subject…

Like me, I’m sure many have seen ads for Uber.

If not, what they promise is $30 an hour ferrying punters around town in your own time  all that’s required is a driver’s licence and a sedan type car. No experience required be your own boss working the hours you want.

Makes me want to apply right away, I’m always on the look out for a spare dollar here and there. It sounds a bit odd, competing with registered transport services in this City, but Uber is apparently operating these schemes in the United States and is on a global expansion drive, fighting governments and regulators worldwide.

Now, I know most of you are pissed off with taxis and the service they deliver. Obviously they need some competition, so you whip your smartphone out and solve the problem.

It’s not that I don’t get this attitude. I understand the causes. Called feast or famine I have seen it far too many times, suffering the 80 percent famine and getting abused in the 20 percent feast.

Not that I mind being a cabbie, I get your frustration. You see, I care about my profession and I care about you, no matter what state you’re in.

I’ve driven cabs since 1984 and the worst thing I’ve had to do is renew my licence this year.

Dealing with the general public, from bum to banker, is the reason I’ve stuck it out for so many years. The way I’m treated is great, plus the freedom of being an inner-city cabbie has its advantages. The life, you see: the conversations you have, the people you meet and the times you truly can help out make it worthwhile. Don’t believe a cab driver that tells you all the horror stories you may want to hear. In my experience, the general public are good, minus the one idiot for every 2000.

The negatives, though, have definitely increased on my side of the car. New licences are released each year, more drivers are entering the game, increased operating costs vs. decreased patronage and the daily struggle is doing my head in. Trust me, I’m not the one making the money. Entities above me, corporate ones, are reaping it in, while the bloke doing the job gets less and less. On top of that, I have to operate in an industry that has the reputation of a sewer rat. With no holiday or sick leave, even super is a myth, and now we have Uber taking fares off us, which is potentially the end of my trade.

You may get one of Uber’s mum and dad operators driving you home when the feast is on, good luck to you. It also could be the Joker or Freddy Krueger, take your chance, as Uber has really no control over their drivers, being just another corporation that wants to earn twenty percent on someone else’s sweat. It’s also illegal and the insurance issue is a precarious one. Where your Uber operator is going to get his $30 an hour in the downtime is a mystery to me, but increasing competition seems to be the latest thing in capitalism, except for the industries that are “protected” by lobbying powers.

Soon, it looks like it’s goodbye from me. I enjoyed your company over the years, learned a lot and tried to do my best. Anyone reading this in need of a good worker who has dealt with the general public for three decades, earning a degree in social science, contact the editor for my details as I really need a new job ASAP.

Here’s the tune that got me into this, all of you kept me there. Whether or not that was a good thing in the long run is something that doesn’t worry me too much.

I valued my time getting to know you and all the things you taught me. However, real cabbies like myself are going the way of the record shop.

Can’t stop progress or technology, I guess.


For a cabbies’ point of view on this issue go to OZ CABBIE.


To celebrate being a year old, we want you, the readers, to help us decide the articles you loved best during our first year and to encourage you  to participate, we are giving away three prizes!

All you have to do is look through our archives of content and email us your favourite article and also if you want, the one you weren’t so up with. From the submissions, we will assess the most-loved content from our first year and republish it at the end of our birthday month.

Both writers and readers are encouraged to enter (No, Paris, you cannot nominate your own articles…#justsaying), so please email us at [email protected] by 30th November to enter! Please include your name, address and mobile number.

And the prizes are…(did we mention there are prizes…?)

First prize: A brilliant acting course based in Sydney and hosted by Darlo Drama worth $550!

Second prize:  A gift pack from our friends at Booktopia

Third prize: Four movie passes

(Plus watch out for a couple of other competitions during our birthday month!)

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