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Legalised? Great. Focus on service. Drive for extra.

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When I was in Hong Kong just a few weeks back, there was a T8 announced. T8 is a typhoon announcement. My colleagues were allowed to go home earlier and should the T8 continues, the staffs would not need to come to work. So, I took the train from the HK airport to Hong Kong Station. Journey was smooth. Hong Kong station was barely 4km from my hotel. When we arrived, we saw a long queue for taxi. When it came to my turn, I told the taxi my hotel address and he said HK$500. Huh?? I asked again and he said even if I asked all the taxis queuing up behind him, the price would be the same. I Whatsapped my staff and asked if I should proceed. She replied, ‘I will book a UBER car for you.’ It came in 8 minutesand the total fare? Refer to the image. Total came to HK$67.65 after a small surcharge due to some sort of inconvenience. The driver was a working professional during the day and was driving in the evening for some extra income. When I arrived in office the next day, my Hong Kong colleagues were surprised with the taxi fare quoted but some of them did say that due to T8, the taxi drivers would charge much higher because there is a risk to them and their taxi too. By the way, UBER is STILL not legalised in Hong Kong.

Malaysia has just legalised both Grab and Uber. Article in TheStar here. It says that Amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 and the Com­mer­cial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) Act 1987 required e-hailing providers to have licences and health screening for their drivers. SPAD said that the change would help to ensure e-hailing operators and drivers adopt the highest levels of safety and service standards. “This includes mandatory background checks by SPAD, the police and the Road Transport Depart­ment.” The article also quoted many comments from Malaysians who feel that this move would make the service better. Some felt that it will be safer and some says that with this, should anything happen they could take legal actions against the company. Many say that they will use the service more often since it is cheaper. (Hmm…. with the compliance cost, it may not be exactly as cheap as today but I do believe competition should help with the fares)  For the full article, refer here. 

I would usually WhatsApp my taxi driver instead of GRAB here in Malaysia, unless he is not available. The reason? I know him and he has never overcharged me. However, I have been personally overcharged by the typical taxi drivers before. My colleagues have been overcharged before. In fact nearly everyone I know say that they have been overcharged before. So, I do hope that this new competition from GRAB and UBER would provide even more competition to the existing taxi companies to work harder. Ensure the drivers are really doing it for a living and not like a get-rich-quick scheme. I also hope however that GRAB and UBER starts to focus on the service instead of ‘killing’ one another through low fares which are actually artificial and is not the real fares. As for the drivers driving for them, it would be good to do it professionally. Happy riding, whether it’s taxi or GRAB.

written on 29 July 2017

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