“In the taxi industry, more consumer choice and better service isn’t a goal, it’s a threat,” Team Uber Malaysia wrote on its blog. “So, the taxi industry is asking the government to protect them from competition that would improve service for Malaysians and provide safer transportation for women. Unfortunately, the government is listening to the taxi industry and ignoring the rakyat who are pleading for a safe and more reliable choice.”
“I #chooseUBERMY because it is the perfect transportation system and (had) totally change the landscape in Kuala Lumpur & Johor Bahru,” a Facebook user, Jasan Chan said. “It is time SPAD and JPJ take action on the current taxis’ issues.”
“If you want a more reliable and safe (transport choice), with no stale smoke scent and the wandering eyes of a typical cab driver, please choose UBER.” another Facebook user, Jillian Lau wrote.
Many Twitter users using the same hashtag are also showing their support to Uber.
Early this week, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Seri Ismail Ahmad said any individual or company providing illegal taxi services using private cars will risk to have their vehicles impounded, a fine of between RM1,000 and RM10,000 or a year imprisonment. Uber, a smartphone app is using taxis and limousines as well as private vehicles which are not registered under the JPJ for taxi-like services.
The department said action will be taken against private drivers using Uber to ferry people. Taxi companies in the country had argued that Uber’s passengers are not protected if accident happens since the drivers do not own proper licences from the department.
In response to this, Team Uber Malaysia said in another blog post that the company will not in any way compromise the safety of the passengers.
“Safety is at the core of what we do. Our stringent process ensures that all Uber partners and their vehicles undergo a rigorous background check and thorough inspection, so when you ride with Uber, you know that you’re riding with a safe and highly qualified driver with full insurance coverage,” Uber said.
Uber also said that the company is bringing competition into the industry, which “hasn’t evolved in years”. The competition, Uber said, will not only benefits drivers and passengers, but also improve the safety, quality and taxi services.
Uber added that the company is open for discussion with government and non-government officials on how innovation could help transform the transportation system in the city.
“Having meaningful conversations based on facts is important to us. We want to keep Kuala Lumpur moving in the safest, most efficient way possible and we will continue to put consumer choice and safety and driver opportunity first.”
Founded in 2009, Uber is available in more than 200 cities worldwide. Uber was officially introduced to Malaysia in January this year.