An SOS Button & No SurgingThe taxis are all insured by participating cab companies, and most importantly, the team is expecting to roll out an SOS button by the end of July. And to top all of that off, PICKnGO will also charge consistent, metered rates—no surges. “PICKnGo can have surge-less charges as taxi rates are always adjusted from time to time by SPAD to address increasing expenses such as maintenance, inspection, insurance and cost of living. As such, it is sustainable especially since taxis can step up when other providers charge high-surge pricing.” Part of the appeal of ride-hailing was for how much cheaper they were from taxis, but this did necessitate them into surging their prices after a certain point of market saturation. But if these taxis can manage to offer consistent rates that average out to be cheaper during peak hours, they might stand a competitive chance against non-taxi apps too.
How It WorksTaking a leaf out of already-established platforms, a cursory glance indicates that it functions more or less like its popular ride-hailing competitors. PICKnGO will:
- connect you to a taxi driver directly
- allow users access to the driver’s profile
- see exactly where the taxi driver is and when they will arrive
The Question Of SafetyIt’s an age-old question that has plagued ride-hailing apps fairly recently in Malaysia, but the frequency was alarming enough to spur SPAD into ruling for SOS buttons on ride-hailing. It seems that PICKnGO will have this covered in July, but safety is more than just a button at the first sign of danger. PICKnGO’s team told us that they will be doing the first round of screening themselves before they usher in trainers to produce qualified taxi drivers up to their standards. That being said, PICKnGO will be leaving the bulk of the background checks into the hands of SPAD. This will hopefully reduce any chances of unwanted situations or unsavoury drivers from joining their fold.
The “reputation” of taxi drivers may have been deterring customers from picking up taxi appsAs we briefly touched upon in the beginning, the app’s biggest contender will have to be the sour reputation that taxi drivers have in Malaysia. We asked Valerie about this and how they would address it. She answered, “While we understand the feedback passengers have given us on their unfortunate experiences, we cannot ignore the many courteous and helpful Malaysian taxis out there.” “It would be a disservice to the frontline tourism ambassadors as well as a demotivator to continue painting them in less than savoury light”. Unfortunately, the few bad apples did manage to spoil the bunch. So Valerie leaves them with a rallying cry: “We take every complaint received seriously and are currently in the midst of rebranding the taxi industry. We ask Malaysians to patiently support us in this endeavour.” As step 1 of that endeavour, PICKnGO has “engaged trainers from reputable firms to conduct the rebranding exercise” as part of their driver training procedure. And being in collaboration with major taxi companies, there is a possibility that they might be able to give taxis a new life under their app.
###Since they’re not the first forward-thinkers to bring the idea of “taxi-hailing” to market in Malaysia, some might wonder—can they survive? For me, it all depends on the exercise of branding. If they’re able to counteract the stigma surrounding taxis and position PICKnGO as a trustworthy alternative to the overall ride-hailing scene, then I can definitely see them conquering making progress for taxi-hailing in Malaysia. That being said, the stigma-fixing is going to be a long uphill battle for the team. It’s not going to be easy. But considering the many silent honest taxi drivers slowly losing livelihoods here in Malaysia, it’s worth a shot. PICKnGO is currently available in both Google Playstore and the Apple App Store.