Uber Malaysia unfazed by opening of Klang Valley MRT
By Chong Jinn Xiung July 19, 2017
- Uber welcomes opening of MRT in Klang Valley
- Continuous improvements made to its driver app to enhance the experience
URBAN transportation in the Klang Valley is changing thanks to the opening of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) line on July 18. The new line is set to further improve mobility for the general population.
But will the MRT negatively impact ride-hailing services as it provides a cheaper alternative for commuters? Uber Malaysia does not think so, in fact, they welcome the improvements made to public transportation.
“You should know that 25% of Uber rides in Malaysia and Singapore start or end at a train station, so the longer the MRT lines the better it is for us,” says Uber head of communications for Singapore and Malaysia Leigh Wong (pic, above).
“Uber has been what we call a first and last mile transportation provider, bringing people from their doorsteps to their destinations and sometimes connecting people from public transport to their homes,” he said.
Wong believes Uber is needed as it helps fill the gap that traditional public transportation may not provide to those not living on the routes.
Since Uber’s entry into Malaysia three years ago, the ride-hailing service has expanded its coverage to 15 cities and claims to be making millions of rides each week.
At present Uber said it serves hundreds of thousands of riders and tens of thousands of drive-partners (drivers). The company declined to provide an exact number of drivers currently signed up with its service.
Meeting the needs of drivers
Uber is working behind the scenes to bring incremental improvements to its driver app, an app separate from the rider facing app we are used to seeing, to improve the driving experience for its drivers.
“The driver app consists of everything that is needed to manage a driver’s business at their fingertips,” said Wong. The app is available in nearly 50 languages, making it versatile for drivers to understand and navigate any city.
“It is important that we keep finding out what motivates our drivers and keep them driving with Uber,” said Wong. According to a survey conducted by Uber, most of its drivers are family-oriented and want the flexibility to work while spending time with their families.
Understanding that everyone drives Uber for their own financial goals, Uber said it has made it easier for drivers with intelligent dispatch that matches trip requests with the driver’s current location and intended destination.
A live heat map shows hot spots that encourage drivers to make maximum profit at a certain time of day. Meanwhile, their earnings are also tracked within the app and they are able to get detailed reports of their weekly earnings and how their driving patterns are compared to city averages.
The ride-hailing company also introduced additional security features including a real time ID check where drivers need to upload a photo to the database and periodically take a picture of themselves when active on Uber.
Uber said it is also opening more Partner Support Centres (PSC) in Malaysia to help provide service and support for its drivers. At present, there are three such centres in Malaysia in Petaling Jaya, Penang and Johor Bahru; with plans to build more centres in the future.