Malaysian taxi providers have been spoken of poorly for the longest of times. With the rise of ride-sharing apps, the poor rep seems to have intensified, and it is unfortunately unforgiving. The humble taxi is after all still a source of transportation for Malaysians. However, having received much flak over time, it is no wonder that ride-sharing apps are able to take over the transportation sphere in a big wave.
We all know about Uber, Grab and the likes and how these services have roused a lot of negativity in the ranks of the taxi drivers, who engage in all sorts of chicanery such as staging protests and damaging cars belonging to Uber or Grab drivers.
You have to wonder, are the taxi drivers really suffering so much from a lack of passengers that they turn their excess energy to such displays? If they truly want to get their customers back, perhaps they should examine the platforms that shared-car services are using and that consumers have a preference for.
Do they not have any other avenues to obtain new or retain existing customers? Apparently they do.
JomTaxi is a free app available on iOS and Android for anybody who wishes to book a licensed taxi ride. We reached out to the company and according to them, since its launch 3 months ago, the app currently has 2,000 drivers and 3,000 registered users. It offers rides from Budget, Executive & Teks1M taxis of Saga BLM, Persona, Waja, Toyota Innova, Exora and KIA Naza models—all which provide passengers with a preview of their estimated fare, similar to Uber or Grab.
Revolutionising Taxi Booking
The multilingual app is available in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia, and it allows users to choose their own driver based on his or her profile, picture and comments from past customers. Drivers and passengers utilising the JomTaxi app are also protected under TuneProtect which would cover accidents, death, and loss, as well as damage of luggage and belongings.
Their aim, according to Valens, CEO of JomTaxi, is to make taxi rides safer and to try and change the image of taxi ride which is “badly tarnished”. JomTaxi’s drivers are all registered and verified.
They also take it one step further by including several functions such as ‘call-back’ which allows users to call their driver should they accidentally leave their belongings in the taxi. The ‘add to favourites’ or ‘block’ option also allows users to utilise the services of a specific driver again in the future, or block a driver whose services had been below par.
Other plans that JomTaxi has for the future would be to allow for a loyalty points reward system, tracking of a loved one who is utilising the JomTaxi app, and even an on-board TV screen.
Initial response from the consumers seem to indicate that this might be a good direction to go, and for the cabbies, this gives them a platform to fight Uber and Grab on their own turf, rather than in negative displays. However, a major drawback is that perhaps not many consumers are aware of JomTaxi’s existence. A quick ask-around the office resulted in us concluding that hardly anyone has heard of it before.
The rate of how fast mindsets about taxi services can change is only as good as the number of users that are impressed by JomTaxi’s efforts. At this rate, JomTaxi needs to step it up a notch to make a difference.