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We only want to make a living, say Uber drivers

KUALA LUMPUR: We just want to make an honest living, say Malaysia’s Uber drivers amidst increasing calls to control or ban ridesharing apps here.

A driver known as Johnny, 32, said many of his riders had given up on taxis.

“Majority of my passengers are saying they won’t take the taxi because of bad experience. We’re just earning a living,” he said.

“It’s not like we want to take away their (taxi drivers) business,” said another driver known as Tan, aged in his 30s.

“If taxis did their work, then we wouldn’t have to be driving,” he said.

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has come up with a plan to stop Uber drivers, including seizing their cars and stopping them from renewing their road tax.

But on Tuesday, SPAD appeared to have a change of heart, as a senior official said they were looking at regulating Uber instead.

Johnny said he was all right with SPAD regulating Uber.

“We don’t mind the proper way. If they ask us to take PSV (public service vehicle license)…No problem,” he said.

A driver who wanted to be known as Brandon, 33, hoped his rides would be seen as “healthy competition” for taxis here.

“We remain optimistic that… authorities including SPAD will give us the opportunity to work together to improve urban mobility for millions of Malaysian commuters,” Uber (Malaysia) general manager Leon Foong said when contacted.

GrabTaxi public affairs vice-president Nina Teng said her company would continue to support SPAD in building a stronger transport regulatory framework here.

“As an industry, it’s important to understand that customers want various transport options, and it is the reason why GrabCar exists,” she said.

Speaking to reporters, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said support for Uber was like asking for a new system of unlicensed taxis.

“If you petition to allow them (Uber), you are petitioning…not (for) Uber, but you are asking for private cars to be used as taxis,” he said sarcastically.

He said this when asked about an online petition in support for Uber on change.org, which has seen more than 4,000 signatures.

“I think before one gets into a petition with Uber, you must remember it is a foreign company that has got into a lot of problems with licensing laws in many countries,” he said.

– The Star

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