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Ride-sharing service Uber yesterday emphasised that it is not competing with taxi services, despite rising opposition from local taxi drivers. Uber India and South Asia communications head Karun Arya told Malay Mail Online that it is an entirely different service that aims to reduce traffic congestion.

“It’s not about Uber versus taxis, we don’t see them as a ride-sharing competition,” said Arya. He said it was Uber’s intention to provide “reliable, safe and affordable” transport services to clients, especially in major urban areas.

Uber has come under heavy fire in recent weeks with taxi drivers staging protests on a regular basis claiming the service has caused to lose customers and earnings. A protest in November saw taxi drivers threatening to block major roads in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle.

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Arya said the rationale behind Uber was to get the public to maximise usage of their personal vehicles, and earn income simultaneously. “Anywhere in the world, people only use their cars four percent of the time, the other 96% the cars are parked. If you can increase that four percent utilisation to even 70% or 80%, then you can start taking more cars off the road,” he said.

Uber head of Global Trust Bhavdeep Basin said Uber was 100% compliant and regulated through local regulations that are in place and encouraged authorities to implement regulations for their business model. “When people say you are illegal and you are unregulated, we couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

While taxi drivers have been protesting against Uber and Grabcar, another ride-sharing service, the general public views these services as an attractive alternative to traditional taxis, citing better cars and polite drivers as the main reasons for choosing the service.