A new report written by the Tax Payers Union, titled Fare Game? Is Flagging down the cost of public sector taxis, shows that bureaucrats choosing more expensive taxi services over ride-sharing apps like Uber have cost taxpayers at least $9.81 million since Uber’s introduction in mid-2014.
Currently, the 28 tier-one public service departments spend about $9.3 million a year on taxis. That’s compared to just $77k on ride-sharing apps. If all public servants opted for ride-sharing apps over taxis, we calculate the potential savings for taxpayers being around $3.27 million per year.
Despite the recent regulation of the ride-sharing industry, a number of departments still have policies in place banning their staff from using Uber or Zoomy for staff travel. Not only is that not keeping up with the times, it means many more millions are wasted on flash cabs, when a cheaper Uber would do just fine.
The report also assesses the opportunities for increased efficiency in departments who embrace ride-sharing as a means of staff travel. It also shows that internationally, the New Zealand public service is lagging behind.
Gone are the days of paper receipts and employee reimbursement forms. Ride-sharing’s electronic based system facilitates remarkably efficient internal staff travel processes. It’s no wonder federal officials in the United States and Australia have been encouraged to use the new technology.
· Over the 28 public service departments, $9,334,755.87 was spent on taxis over the period of a year, up until 1 June 2017. This is compared to just $77,102 spent on ride-sharing apps.
· By applying fare estimates between Wellington Airport and MBIE offices, the report estimates that using Uber over taxis saves around 35%.
· Applying that figure to government departments, taxpayers could have saved $3.27 million if public servants used ride-sharing over taxis, or $9.8 million since Uber launched in mid-2014.
· Five government departments have travel policies banning their staff from using ride-sharing for staff travel (Department of Conservation, Ministry of Justice, Crown Law, Ministry for Women, and the Department of Internal Affairs).
· Only tier one government departments were included in the survey data. That means that many more millions are likely to have been wasted (and have the potential to be saved) across the wider public sector.
-Tax Payers Union