The e-hailing services have proven to be more popular than regular taxis due to several reasons, from the convenience and reliability offered to the own failings of taxi drivers. The average number of trips recorded using Grab and Uber e-hailing services is between 300,000 and 350,000 monthly.
Unless rogue taxi drivers stop overcharging or being selective of destination points of their passengers, more commuters will stop using their services.
The e-hailing services have become the choice of public transport users in the country as it was easier to book, the fare is cheaper and passengers could get an estimate of the fare before starting the journey. This eliminates the possibility of overcharging.
Passengers also feel safer with the availability of information on the driver and the vehicle as well as being able to track the hired car via the application within a shorter waiting time.
The e-hailing application can help attract more people to use public transport, says Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi. It could overcome the problem of the first and last mile connectivity for passengers of other modes of public transport.
“This is proven in a research study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers that 59 per cent of the application users had never hailed a taxi before this. The research also showed 52 per cent of taxi passengers use e-hailing application to get a taxi,” he said when opening a ‘National Symposium on Logistics and Transport themed “Taxi and Uberisation Way forward” in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Ab Aziz is right in saying the technology is a positive push for a change in the country’s taxi service under the Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP) announced in August.
Instead of challenging e-hailing services, taxi drivers should adopt the application to boost their earnings. Only 14 per cent of taxi drivers are using the e-hailing application to obtain passengers.
Improving the taxi industry involves more than adopting new technology. Firstly, the taxi industry needs to clean up its own act. Accounts of rogue taxi drivers are aplenty, so much so that are even Facebook pages such as How To Deal With Errant & Rogue Malaysia Taxi Drivers.
Laws are in place to protect e-hailing drivers from bully cabbies, but this hasn’t stopped them from taking matters into their own hands.
The time has come for the book to be thrown at rogue taxi drivers who harass e-hailing drivers and those who try to prevent others from providing a much-appreciated service to commuters.
A taxi operator recently declared that drivers of e-hailing services would be barred from picking up passengers at several major hotels and shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur from November.
He planned to bring taxi services at these properties under his control, just as he had done so at Kuala Lumpur City Centre where Suria KLCC is located. This was after he had secured a sub-contract from another taxi company that has an agreement with a shopping mall for chauffeur-driven limousine services.
We can’t afford to allow taxi drivers, companies, cooperatives or associations to stake territorial claims to monopolise services.
Source : The Heat Malaysia Online