Taxi drivers, your fight isn’t with Uber
By Zan Azlee
THE issue between taxi drivers and Uber has gone on for years now and it looks like it will continue to go on until the government steps in and gives out a black and white ultimatum.
The latest has been the Transport Ministry considering the idea that Uber drivers need to obtain commercial licenses to drive their cars for the service.
Of course, this was not met well with the Uber drivers. But the Uber drivers aren’t a fussy lot really. It’s the taxi drivers who have been making the most noise.
They have protested in the streets and, apparently, have even threatened physical violence against Uber drivers whenever they see them. This is according to several Uber drivers who shared with me their stories.
It’s obvious that Uber is threatening the business of the taxi drivers. The reasons being that Uber is cheaper, more comfortable, reliable and in many cases, the drivers are more polite.
I’m an Uber user and I’ve written about the many advantages that Uber has over our local Malaysian taxi drivers. And if you have experienced riding our taxis, then you can’t dispute it.
The last time I wrote about the taxi-Uber rivalry, I made a call for the taxi drivers to improve their services if they wanted to compete with Uber. And that makes sense.
Just like in any business and industry, competition will be the key that determines the quality of the services provided in that industry in order to improve and be more affordable.
But it seems like the monopoly that taxi drivers have has been going on too long for them to now realise that they have to up their game if they want to stay relevant.
But it’s really not the taxi drivers’ direct fault if you really think about it. And many people have requested that I write about the other side of the story too.
The cost to being a taxi driver is exorbitant if you compare it to the amount of revenue they make. The margin is very small and it becomes more of a risk to drive a taxi.
So the monopoly that we are really talking about here are the handful of companies that have the licenses and cars to give out to the taxi drivers to drive.
If the taxi drivers have any sense at all, they would actually protest against their masters who have subjected them to such constricting regulations for them to operate.
Take the model that has seen Uber succeeding in and make it as a basis for them to demand better working conditions from the taxi companies.
Take a step back and look at who is really affecting your takings. The fight of the taxi drivers isn’t with Uber or the Uber drivers. It’s with their own masters who are controlling them.