I know of many horror tales about taxi drivers in Malaysia. My ex-country manager was charged RM25 for a 800m journey. All other taxis she asked told her that’s the fare! I have never used UBER and have used Grab only a few times with the last one being a few years back. These days, I would WhatsApp a taxi driver whom I think is sincere and honest. Yes, he is a usual red and white taxi driver. He told me that it’s getting harder these days as the number of customers have dropped with UBER and GRAB. I have many friends who kept telling me that UBER and GRAB is revolutionising the taxi industry. I do think they help make everything more efficient which is great. As for other stuffs, let me tell you my personal views.
Competition should always be fair. Organisations should be more effective and efficient and continue to improve their services so that it is better than the rest. They should however not continue to use huge fundings to fund their expansion and in the process killing many competitors who do not have the same amount of funding. As at recently, UBER is still reporting huge losses. In brief, their current model is not a profitable one. Yes, the only reason why you can pay such low fares (sometimes free) is not because the driver is working for fun or charity. It’s because UBER got more fundings and could continue to subsidise their expansion plans. In August 2016, it was reported in many media that UBER has suffered US$1.2 billion loss within H1 2016. Here’s one of the report.
A friend who’s Senior Manager in a multinational remarked recently that startups would always be losing money in the beginning. Well, UBER started in 2009. So, how long should startups continue to lose money? This is not an article to tell you to stop using UBER. Everyone should continue to enjoy cheaper rides, even free ones for some cities in Malaysia. I just wanted to clear the point about fair competition and also some good, honest and sincere taxi drivers. We can always say these are the minority but fyi, they still have a life and even a family to feed. My favourite taxi driver? Well, he has 5 kids. Happy riding / hailing.
written on 2 Dec 2016
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