KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 (Bernama) — On Tuesday, more than 300 taxi drivers went on strike in the capital, in protest against online ride-hailing services which were deeemed to affect their livelihood.
The strike was to vent their frustrations against the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) for failing to curb the very popular GrabCar and Uber services.
The question is, why are more and more consumers switching to online ride-hailing services?
Many taxi-users say the attitude of taxi drivers drove them to alternative services which are seen as more tolerant and providing satisfactory service.
Among the grouses which users have against taxi drivers include a refusal to use the metre, putting up high fares, and refusing to take passengers to certain destinations, while using a myriad of excuses.
Many of those having used taxi service in the capital share the ‘bitter ordeal’ of Amira Ahmad, 28, a civil servant in Kuala Lumpur, who laments: “The service received is not satisfactory, and this has made me switch to using Uber and GrabCar.”
She said using these applications was much easier, the fares were cheaper, and they provided much better service than the taxi drivers who did not charge, according to the stipulated rates.
Nur Atikah Saad, 23, a student at a private university who is currently undergoing industrial training in the capital said she felt burdened by fares charged by taxi drivers.
A private employee, Faizah Hussin, 27, said online taxi services were her choice as they offered very reasonable price for their services.
“In addition, they have never refused to send passengers to any destination, nor grumble if there is traffic on the road,” she said.
Malaysian Taxi Drivers Transformation Association deputy president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain, when contacted by Bernama admitted some taxi drivers behaved in an unruly manner.
“But don’t let a few bad apples penalise the rest. Actually, drivers’ attitude is not the main reason (for people switching to alternatives) but the low prices offered is a major factor for them to use (services like) Uber and GrabCar,” he said.
Kamarudin welcomed the statement by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai for Uber and GrabCar services to be registered under SPAD.
“If it’s true SPAD wants to make these applications part of the registered public transport, please announce this to the taxi drivers so that we’re not left wondering about the status (of these services),” he said.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said a fair and equitable solution would be decided on the matter in the near future.
He said the interests of both parties would remain a major consideration for the government while it worked out a solution.