According to the official Uber blogpost, ‘Secret Ubers’ rolled into the city on Wednesday, will be offering free rides for the whole month of August. As it is only in its testing phase, services will be limited to the JB city area and surrounding neighbourhood.
Uber definitely seems bullish about Johor, and I don’t see why not. Despite it entering a relatively crowded market at the moment, with other players like Grabtaxi and TaxiMonger, as well as Rocket Internet’s EasyTaxi, the neighbouring Kuala Lumpur doing pretty well.
With word travelling from next door, Uber JB should face no problem, especially in avoiding the initial hesitation and wariness faced when Uber first launched in KL. They are also looking for a Community Manager to “build Uber Johor from scratch”, making sure that they stay rooted to JB when rolling out their future plans.
A stunt like offering free rides definitely helps. Each Uber user will be limited to 10 free rides each, which would probably get Johoreans to work and home for the next two weeks. With Uber picking up traction in Kuala Lumpur with their recently launched UberX, it’s hard to tell how soon it will arrive in JB as well. According to an article in TechInAsia, Uber has declined to comment on this matter.
Hopefully, this new launch won’t be dampened by any competition laws. According to Kompas, the Jakarta government plans to ban Uber’s service in the city because it is operating without a taxi permit. In the Philippines, the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association have also issued a complaint against Uber for allowing private vehicles to operate as public utility vehicles with no registered franchise from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).