KUALA LUMPUR: Taxi drivers, long at loggerheads with ride sharing companies Uber and Grab, are making a “U-turn.”
Many of them are said to be abandoning their conventional taxi service to opt for the more popular Uber and Grab services.
This is not surprising, as a survey by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) showed that 80% of Malaysian commuters preferred using a ride-sharing service compared to the conventional service.
Taxi company operators have confirmed that many of their drivers wanted to move over to Uber and Grab, with up to 10,000 believed to have surrendered their vehicles to their respective firms.
According to Big Blue Capital Sdn Bhd adviser Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, the actual figure could be “more than double”.
“This is because ride-sharing companies are offering vehicles for rent at a much cheaper rate,’’ he added.
Taxi drivers pay up to RM90 daily as rental. Officials said Grab was luring drivers with a weekly rental rate of RM250 for new cars.
Shamsubahrin said the only snag was that the drivers had to foot the insurance costs for the cars.
“But despite the insurance not covering commercial usage, they are still switching. Every taxi company is digging its hole, and that includes me! They (taxi drivers) don’t care that there is no coverage,’’ he added.
To stay afloat, he said taxi firms may need to scrap the rental model and opt to hire drivers on a fixed income basis.
Uber and Grab have their own system to rate their drivers, and taxi drivers wanting to make the transition will have to play by the new rules.