‘Taxis, E-Hailing Issues Boil Down To Dollars And Cents

KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing wants taxi operators in the city to ask themselves � why more and more consumers are opting for e-hailing services.

Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, said taxi operators must realise that people would rather use e-hailing services because they could save more.

First, taxi drivers must understand why people are going for Uber. It is because of dollars and cents, he said when contacted by The Borneo Post’s sister daily Utusan Borneo here yesterday.

He was prompted for comments on a peaceful assembly staged by taxi operators at the old State Legislative Assembly complex here yesterday, calling upon the state government to help the taxi industry here.

Masing recalled his recent experience at an airport where he found out that he had to fork out over RM40 for a taxi ride, while an Uber trip to the same destination cost only RM8.

So it is a question of whether people are willing to pay more, he said, as he pointed out that ‘like it or not, the taxi

industry has to make adjustments in order to survive the global trend’.

He said taxi operators seemed to be left with very little choices � they must adjust the costs and also improve their attitude to maintain their customer base.

The taxi industry has to find out what has gone wrong � you cannot stop people from being creative in business. So the taxi people must ask themselves � what has gone wrong and why people are using Uber.

You cannot force the people to pay what they do not want to pay. It is their money, from their own pockets. Hence, they (taxi operators) must adjust and be reasonable in pricing, he pointed out.

On a note that the taxi operators were lamenting about having to go through the inspection at Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom) every six months, when e-hailing cab drivers did not have to, Masing said: If there’s such a difference in regulation, we will look into it, but if there’s no difference, they (taxi drivers) cannot force consumers to pay.

Masing insisted that taxi industry players must upgrade their services, including paying more attention to social etiquettes, to meet the rising demands from consumers.

Attempts had been made to obtain comments from Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Dato Sri Nancy Shukri on the matter, but to no avail.

An Uber spokesperson based in Kuala Lumpur, when contacted, said they would respond only after communicating with their operators on the ground in Sarawak.

Source: The Borneo Post