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Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Cabbies told to change their ways
PETALING JAYA: Local cabbies have the choice to change for the better or live with increased competition from the likes of Uber and GrabCar, said Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong.
In a blog posting on weechookeong.com, he said he didn’t see services such as Uber and GrabCar going away until the taxi industry improved services, drivers’ appearance, attitude and taxi conditions.
“As long as the taxi industry continues its embarrassing and damaging ways, Uberification in the public ‘transportscape’ is inevitable – we can all be sure that there will be other services similar to Uber and GrabCar coming!” he said.
Wee said that as an official of the country’s tourism authority, he could not and would not support on-demand car services which did not operate according to the country’s laws.
Unlike taxis, Uber drivers do not need public service vehicle permits, don’t use meters and their vehicles are not subjected to inspection by Puspakom. But Wee said he couldn’t blame frustrated commuters and tourists whose bad experiences with taxis had led them to use ride-sharing services such as Uber.
“From what I’ve read, the Uber co-founder and CEO himself was once a frustrated tourist in Paris and that experience was said to have been his inspiration to create the service.”
Wee added that the recent report by LondonCabs.co.uk portal that placed Malaysian taxi drivers at the top of the list of 10 countries with the worst taxi drivers would affect the decision of foreigners on whether to come to Malaysia.
“We will never know how many potential visitors we’ve lost and continue to lose. “The damage has been done. All we can do now is find ways to fix the problem,” he said.
Wee said he was sure Malaysian taxi drivers were not the worst in the world, but were “quite bad” or worse compared to those in some neighbouring countries.
He welcomed the new Centralised Taxi Service System (CTSS) and hoped it would evolve to include all taxis in the country.