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The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is set to revamp taxi services in the country this year by introducing a new mobile app for traditional taxis. The app will be similar to those currently offered by Uber and Grab.

In the report by The Sun, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the mobile app would be developed with the assistance from a mobile network service provider. “We will ensure the well-being of (conventional) taxi drivers … please trust the government,” he said.

SPAD’s upcoming app will join others that were released earlier by taxi groups. Official Ride (Oride) is just one of them, a private initiative by the Federation of Taxi Drivers Associations and Companies for Peninsula (Gabungan). Another is MesraCab from the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Application Taxi Drivers Association (Pertapps).

Commenting on allegations that conventional taxi services here were of poor quality, Abdul Aziz dismissed the notion, claiming app-based ride-sharing services (Uber and Grab) had become the preferred choice simply because they used an easily accessible system.

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However, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, a.k.a. Ku Nan recently said that taxi drivers need to improve their quality of service if they hope to compete against Uber and Grab, disputing Abdul Aziz’s statement.

Nonetheless, taxi drivers are certainly fuming at the unresolved issue pertaining to ride-sharing services. While some have opted to take legal action against the SPAD, others took to the streets in protest, as evident by a blockade set up by cabbies along Jalan Bukit Bintang on March 29, 2016.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has said recently that the Government is in the midst of preparing a mechanism that will allow ride-sharing services to operate on the same platform as taxi service operators, which will be ready soon.

What are your thoughts on SPAD’s upcoming app for conventional taxi drivers? Will it provide the edge cabbies need to compete with Uber and Grab? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.