The spat between taxi drivers and services like Uber and GrabCar sounds very similar like siblings who fight because they are jealous of each other.
Let me explain a little bit by what I mean. Although I drive a car, almost half of the time, I like to take public transportation. And this includes taxis.
I used to call those phone numbers where you can book a taxi to come pick you up wherever you are. They will usually call you back once they find a driver that can pick you up.
It works – maybe 30 percent of the time. The majority of the time, they either don’t call you back or when they do, it’s just to tell you that there are no drivers in your vicinity.
Then MyTeksi came about. I tried downloading the app on my smartphone and it immediately became my go to service whenever I needed a taxi.
The response time is immediate and the app even shows you all the drivers in your vicinity. You can also directly contact the driver and you get to track how far he is from you.
I totally ditched those phone numbers that I used to call for taxis. You see, as a consumer, I chose the most convenient and reliable service to use.
And then after about a year of using MyTeksi for all my taxi needs, Uber started making an appearance in Malaysia. I resisted at first because I was comfortable with MyTeksi.
But after a trip to the United States, where I had the opportunity to try out Uber, I decided to make the switch now that I’m back in Malaysia.
There are reasons why I choose Uber over MyTeksi. Among them are that the drivers are more polite, the cars are cleaner and more comfortable, the rates are cheaper, and you don’t need cash.
Let me remind you again that for me, as a consumer, I choose the most convenient and reliable service to use. That is of the main concern, not just for me, but for many others.
So for taxi drivers to protest over newer services like Uber and GrabCar (I haven’t tried it yet), it just reminds me of a spoilt only child crying because he now has a new baby brother.
Instead of crying to the authorities to ban Uber and GrabCar, maybe it would be a much better idea for taxi drivers to take a step back and look at themselves.
Think about it. Even the authorities aren’t sure what they can do about it.
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar was reported to have ‘acknowledged that Uber and GrabCar are legal as service-matching businesses, but the manner they operate is not’.
My suggestion for taxi drivers is to quit complaining and start improving their services. Beat the competition. That is how you win in business.
It only takes a bit of healthy competition to improve things across the board. And always keep in mind the needs of the consumers.