Looks like local taxi drivers are feeling the heat from Uber, too. After facing plenty of heated exchanges in other countries, where taxi drivers have mounted boycotts and governments even resorting to banning the service, Uber is now facing a similar response from local taxi drivers.
Eight months on after its official launch here in Malaysia, Uber has become the go-to solution for many in Kuala Lumpur looking for a more premium offering compared to taxis. Its peer review system also means that drivers and customers alike are rated, and can be red-flagged for safety reasons. The primary reason behind Uber’s success is due to the fleet of cars that are easily more comfortable and premium than current taxis, and critically, the 35% permanent price cut announced five months ago.
And now, with the introduction of UberX, an even cheaper alternative to UberBLACK and with rates that are even cheaper than budget taxis, the local taxi budget taxi operators are finally feeling the pinch.
Gabungan Persatuan dan Syarikat-Syarikat Teksi Semenangjung Malaysia (GABUNGAN) deputy president Datuk Mohd Alias Abdul has called upon the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), the Road Transport Department, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission and even the police to take action against Uber. And it’s no surprise, given that the service is seriously disrupting the local budget taxi operators’ profits.
A local taxi operator, Sunlight Radio Taxi Service Sdn Bhd, used technicalities to question Uber’s services, with executive director Ab Jalil Maarof claiming that the company were using private cars and unlicensed drivers to ferry passengers, which is against Malaysia’s transport law.
On the other hand, passengers do not seem to mind using Uber to replace budget taxis, with many claiming that the service is extremely reliable and the UberBLACK cars were clean and comfortable. Compared to the wretched reputation budget taxis have in the country – especially in Kuala Lumpur, where Uber is thriving – perhaps this is one area the local taxi operators have failed to address, and as a result consumers are turning to other services such as Uber.
Whether the local authorities will take any action remains to be seen, as so far none of the departments have responded.
(Source: The Malaysian Insider)