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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Uber, Grabcar are the modern possibilities for operators, consumers

I believe the conventional taxis have served us for so many decades and there are pros and cons of their existence in the cyber-age.

We have also gone through a long time for rural to urban or vice versa travel with the dangerous drivers in ‘pirate taxis’.

I can see a legitimate challenge by the taxis against the modern travel by Uber and Grabcar for some technicalities cum legalities.

We have read about two Uber drivers being arrested in Kota Kinabalu, with their cars confiscated. What is next is anybody’s guess.

I am not a regular user of taxis but we all know what kind of services they do provide.

I tried to contact a taxi urgently with the only one saved in my handphone, but I was told that he was in Kundasang when I was in Kota Kinabalu. We do have problems in contacting any good taxi.

I had to wait for two hours for my friend who came to Kota Kinabalu (KK) from Kuala Lumpur for the first time as he was using a taxi to move around Kota Kinabalu. The taxi he was in could not bring him to 88 Marketplace from Putatan which is less than 15 minutes away.

I tried to convey the place and landmarks in the areas to the taxi driver but he still had no idea of the vicinity, and finally my friend was abandoned in Cybercity and my friend took another taxi to come to see me, but after a very long wait of a couple hours. Was the driver also a ‘stranger’ to the area? Was the driver a part-time illegal one?

Maybe it is timely that the local taxis take advantage of the present cyber-software made available to Uber and Grabcar as both these companies do make such an offer to all drivers online, and all these drivers need to do is to apply to join Uber and/or Grabcar for a win-win scenario to the existing taxi drivers and the travelling consumers and tourists with the very efficient service provided by these two high-tech companies.

I think the present static taxis spend too much time waiting for customers in fixed locations which can be very far away from the traveling consumers as and when they need taxis. The needs of most of the travelling public would be urgent as and when required, but some taxis drivers may not know certain locations.

We need to appreciate how Uber and Grabcar can also change or transform the life of the taxi drivers and keep the costs of travel within KK, lower thus encouraging more people to go that way rather than driving their own cars in already congested KK with limited parking spaces.

Once the smart handphones are registered with Uber and Grabcar, the users would have very easy access to the services in exceedingly quick time. The drivers would be guided in the route from destination A to destination B using the provision of Google Earth made available with recent Google updates of KK.

At the time of ordering an Uber car, the user can get an estimated quotation and the time to arrive at the pick-up point within a few minutes. Once the order is confirmed, the user would be given details of the car and car number and the driver’s name via the handphone. There is no hassle to order an Uber car and many would be tempted to use it again. The back up service online is also good.

So the positive response means the option the option to be registered for Uber and /or Grabcar should be seriously considered as such technology can enable taxi drivers and consumers to contribute to better service in the travel sector.

By Joshua Kong

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