A new taxi service says it will match Friday and Saturday night Uber rates in Canberra in a bid to win back loyalty to the territory's taxis.
ACT AllGreenCabs was launched on Wednesday by ACT and interstate plate owners who say they have lost their life savings due to the government flooding the market with new licenses at a fraction of what they paid for them.
Managing director Petar Johnson - who is also chair of the ACT Taxi Plate Owners Association - said the ACT's taxi market was a hidden third world industry with shift drivers earning between $8 and $12 an hour.
"The flood of taxi plates by the ACT government, the poorly regulated standards of the cars used as taxis and the unkept nature of many taxis have caused a strong downturn in the industry. This in turn has seen the position of taxis in Canberra's eyes fall into a downward spiral with flow on effects for returns in the taxi industry," he said.
He hopes the new service will turn this trend around through quality vehicles and drivers.
There will be seven taxis on the road 24 hours a day and another 20 coming early next year.
Mr Johnson said the service would match Uber rates on Friday and Saturday nights.
He said taxis could be booked through app Taxi Booker or by phone, with drivers given the freedom to make personal relationships.
"We just need to get through the tough summer holiday months coming ahead to ensure that there is suitable capacity early in 2020," Mr Johnson said.
"Our drivers are prepared and have shown a strong commitment to the generation of a quality fleet and I need to thank each and every one of them for the establishment phase of the operation. We have now been trialing for four months and we think we are ready to make a go of it."
The government slashed the price of leasing taxi plates from $20,000 in 2015 to $5000 in 2017.
Unlike other jurisdictions, the ACT government did not offer compensation for plate owners wanting to sell their plates back to the government.
Taxi plate owners argued that by allowing ride-share operators into what was once a tightly regulated market, governments had caused economic harm.
ACT taxi plates were changing hands for up to $300,000 pre-Uber.
"The actions of the ACT government amount to theft of people's life savings that were invested in the ACT government issued taxi plates for no good reason." Mr Johnson said.
He said AllGreenCabs would offset all carbon emissions generated through carbon sequestration projects.
The service will use current model Ford Mondeos.