KUALA LUMPUR: Many Uber users were shocked by the authorities’ effort to stop private vehicles from ferrying passengers for a fee. In spite of the clampdown, they insisted that they would continue using the service.
Streets spoke to some passengers who described the service as the most reliable, efficient and safest they had experienced.
Nik Amni Nik Hassan has been a Uber user since it first came to Malaysia and finds the crackdown unbelievable.
“I’m disappointed that the government is putting a stop to Uber.
“I’m satisfied with their services as they are efficient, punctual and the UberX service is cheaper than normal taxis.”
Nik Amni said he felt safe with Uber drivers, despite the safety issues raised by taxi drivers as Uber users are also given drivers’ details such as names, photograph, telephone number, the car model and registration number upon booking.
“Besides, anyone on the network can trace my whereabouts. If other countries are happy with Uber’s services, why aren’t we?”
She said she would still use Uber even with the clampdown.
Avid Uber user Josh Lim said the decision to clamp down on Uber was unfair.
“If anything, it puts the failure of the Land Public Transport Department (SPAD) and RTD in the spotlight — that a foreign system can come in with a transport service which gives higher customer satisfaction and quality of service.
“I will continue to use Uber as a customer as I am happy with the service.
“ Some Uber drivers have said that their fellow drivers have had their windows smashed and were intimidated by taxi drivers but these will deter me from using the service.”
Lim added that UberX drivers were the ones who have been threatened by taxi drivers as their fares are low, while UberBlack drivers, who offer a limousine-like service have not being harassed.
He said taxi drivers should realise that the inefficiency of taxi companies they were working under is the real reason their livelihood is being threatened.
“If the taxi industry does pay their drivers better, the drivers should quit and join Uber instead, or lobbying for the taxi companies to stop squeezing them.
“It’s hard to understand why the taxi drivers are protesting against what could possibly be a better employer for them.”
Uber also has a strong backing from its clients on the “We Love Uber” Facebook page which now has 700 members.
A member, Nicolas Yip, posted: “Actually, if the powers that be just observed Uber and get the taxis to follow its service, that would solve the problem. Imitate, rather than oppose.”
Derek Law posted: “Tried UberX and a car came within five minutes, driver was polite, no need to ask how much?. Ride was comfortable and hassle-free. Second time, while waiting for a car, I saw many people haggling with taxi drivers at a shopping mall. My ride arrived and I got in hassle free. Will definitely use Uber again when I need it.”
Another member, Karen Jacka from South Africa, posted: “I love Uber — please don’t take Uber away from Malaysia. I was closed to being kidnapped in a Malaysian cab and had to jump out of a moving car to escape. I don’t want to have to return to this type of service that does not guarantee safety and security.” By Farezza Hanum Rashid