The Long Wait is Over, Fellow Johoreans!
Uber is an app-based service that focuses on ridesharing. Many cities around the world are trying to eliminate the service because it allows an amateur driver the chance to make some quick money by helping to get someone where they need to be. Some are calling it an unlicensed taxi service. Others say it is a needed service that helps everyone in the community.
How Does Uber Work?
Users who want to either work for Uber or get a ride through Uber need to download an app that works through their smartphone or web browser. Once the app is downloaded, users will need to create a profile that is made available to the general public. This is a safety measure that Uber provides as it allows the driver and the rider to see each other and accept the ride or the job before payment is arranged.
The Uber app will then guide the driver to the location of where the ride was requested via GPS. Once the rider is picked up, GPS will guide the driver through the city in the most efficient manner so that the rider reaches their destination.
There’s no money that exchanges hands like in a traditional taxi service. Riders pay Uber through the app ahead of time for their ride and the money is transferred electronically to the driver that has been hired. It is cheaper than a comparable taxi ride in almost every circumstance, helps to ease city traffic, and may even encourage taxi prices to come downward in certain locations.
Who is Able to Drive for Uber?
There are three basic levels of service when using the Uber app: UberTAXI, UberBLACK, and UberX. The taxi service is self-explanatory. Only licensed taxi drivers are able to provide services through Uber and they must have a licensed commercial taxi in order to provide someone a ride.
UberBLACK is an upscale service that requires the driver to be a professional chauffeur. They must be licensed appropriately for their community, own a black sedan, town car, or SUV, and be able to seat at least 4 passengers.
UberX is a service that allows anyone to drive as long as they are above the age of 21 and have personal auto insurance and a well maintained four door sedan. After passing a background check, they are free to earn as much money as they can through the service.
Why is the Inclusion of Uber Such a Good Thing for Malaysian?
Everyone consumer wins when Uber comes into their market and it’s not just in the controversial UberX division where savings can be had. A luxury car under the UberBLACK category, for example, starts at just RM3. An executive taxi, on the other hand, will start at RM6. UberBLACK charges RM1.15 per kilometer and has a waiting rate of RM0.35 per minute. Executive taxis charge RM2 every kilometer and about RM0.60 per minute of waiting.
For an extended trip through Johor Bahru, those are savings that really begin to add up. There is also no after midnight 50% surcharge for UberBLACK services like there is with taxis within the city.
When UberX is compared to a budget taxi, however, the cost savings really begin to add up. The base fare for an UberX transaction is 50% that of a budget taxi right now. The distance charge per KM is RM0.32 less. The only difference is that the UberX waiting times are double that of a budget taxi at RM0.20. Considering that the Uber app allows riders to schedule their ride at a time that is suitable for them, however, the wait times are generally kept to a minimum.
It is UberX that has come under fire in many communities, causing some to eliminate the entire ride sharing service completely. Because there isn’t any professional licensing involved in the UberX program beyond basic driver’s licensing, many government officials around the world have seen it as an illegal way for some people to make money. In Johor Bahru, however, the service is being welcomed with open arms.
How Does Uber Maintain Their Quality?
After the background checks, a driver must also be able to maintain a certain minimum rating from their customers in order to continue receiving business. At the end of every Uber trip, riders are given the chance to rate their driver and leave comments about the overall experience. This means drivers must know the city, know how to use GPS navigation, and meet all local licensing requirements. Drivers may pay up to a 20% commission to Uber for the work that they receive. Riders do not pay any fees to book a ride through the app. All fees come out of the driver’s pay.
The competition is stiff in Malaysia and Johor Bahru, considering there is an estimated 10,000 drivers using some form of alternative taxi service right now to make some cash or even a full-time living. Uber Malaysia focuses on the areas that are important to riders, such as personalized services, responsive timing, and consistent results. In doing so, they hope to not only decrease the amount of traffic that is out on the streets, but save riders money while giving drivers the chance to make some money in the process.
“If we do what we’re supposed to be doing, we should be okay,” Chan Park, the head of Uber’s Asia Pacific Expansion, told the Malay Mail. “So we focus on pick-up times, we focus on vehicle and driver quality, we focus on good customer support, fun promotions, staying relevant in the present, in the community, get local, so our team members here are all local folks who understand the local market.”
Uber is prepared to make a massive impact on the Malaysia market and especially in Johor Bahru. With affordable rides, professional services, and consistent pick-up and arrival times, it could be the answer to the traffic nightmare that we all face every day.
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