uber-x

This had to come sooner or later – according to a Bernama report, Gabungan Persatuan dan Syarikat-Syarikat Teksi Semenanjung Malaysia (GABUNGAN) has called on the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to take action against Uber, the company offering transport services through smartphone app.

GABUNGAN deputy president Datuk Mohd Alias Abdul said the police, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission should also work together to address the issue.

“The company does not have any business licence or office in Malaysia but has been operating in dozens of cities around the world through the Internet and smartphone application,” Mohd Alias told Bernama.

“What’s worrying is that Uber does not have a taxi permit issued by SPAD and it is also believed that its drivers do not have the public service vehicle (PSV) licence. This situation will cause many problems to the passengers in the event of any untoward incidents, crime cases or road accidents.”

uber-south-east-asia-michael-brown

Under its premium UberBLACK service, the San Francisco-based company currently charges RM1.15 per km of travel, with a RM3 base fare and a RM5 minimum total fare per trip.

Fixed fares include RM68 for a one-way trip from KL to Putrajaya, RM270 for premium transport services and RM80 for budget transport services from KL to KLIA, and RM150 from KL to Genting Highlands.

According to Mohd Alias, Uber’s services have affected the income of taxi drivers in the Klang Valley as the company fixes its fares based on its estimation on the distance and time of service.

Moreover, Uber service providers do not have to bear the various operational costs that normal taxi drivers do, like having to undergo periodical Puspakom inspections, he said.

uber-x-1

Meanwhile, Sunlight Radio Taxi Service executive director Ab Jalil Maarof said action against Uber was necessary as the company was using private cars and unlicensed ‘taxi’ drivers.

“It can be pretty dangerous for passengers. For their own safety, consumers are advised not to opt for the transport service offered by Uber,” he said.

Koperasi Pengangkutan Putrajaya dan Cyberjaya honorary-secretary Mohd Salleh Mat Zin said it was learnt that Uber had appointed several local companies to manage the service on its behalf.

“Our initial investigation found that the company uses private vehicles to pick up its passengers. It has clearly violated the transport law in the country because a private vehicle cannot be used as public transport because it can endanger the safety of passengers. Those private vehicles may have not undergone inspections at Puspakom,” he said.

uber-black-1

Mohd Salleh added that licensed taxi operators have to pay insurance premiums that are four times higher than those for private vehicles, which are aimed at ensuring the safety of passengers and other road users in the event of accidents.

“The Uber service, however, does not give any indication whether its vehicles are covered by insurance,” he said.

Uber’s services currently cover 57 cities in 22 countries. It launched in KL in October 2013, and recently introduced the budget UberX service here.

Our sister publication TechAttack.my interviewed Uber regional GM Michael Brown at the launch of UberX a few weeks ago. Brown says that its highest priority remains to be rider safety and satisfaction, hence each driver undergoes Uber’s screening process during hiring, which includes a criminal background check, driving history check, as well as an ongoing quality assurance via rating system (rated by passengers). Brown says if a certain driver’s ratings aren’t up to par, Uber can end the relationships with them. He also says Uber cars are covered by insurance for both the driver and passengers.

Uber only supplies the technology and the system to make the service possible, and the cars are all supplied by third party partners consisting of limousine companies. MyTeksi’s GrabCar service follows the same concept. Though Uber doesn’t reveal its partners, some of the rides we took before were operated by companies like Extreme Limousines & Tours. This information is available to you in your Uber ride’s receipt.

Read the following stories to learn more about Uber: