Uber introduces new UberFLASH and UberTaxi services
By Chong Jinn Xiung September 6, 2017
- New service to provide riders with more choices and decrease overall wait time
- Q2 results sees losses down to US$645 million, as it stays focused on attaining profitability in long term
UBER Malaysia has introduced two new services, UberFLASH and UberTaxi to its users in the Klang Valley.
Under the new UberFLASH service it will connect riders with the closest drive-partner to them be it an UberX or taxi. The second service, UberTaxi, on the other hand, will allow riders to specifically request for a metered taxi cab via the Uber app.
Uber Malaysia and Singapore general manager Warren Tseng explained that the two new services would broaden the concept of ridesharing and increase the efficiency of its driver-partners.
“We want to use technology to allocate existing resources on the road so that they can serve more riders with more choice and with better pick up times. We also support the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD’s) intention to improve the overall public transportation landscape in the country,” said Tseng.
According to Uber, the key differentiator between the two services is that UberFLASH fares will utilise its dynamic pricing model, where riders will be able to see the fare up front before requesting a ride whereas UberTaxi fares will be based on SPAD’s taxi meter rates.
Uber expects that riders will benefit from faster pick-ups while drivers will be matched to riders giving them more potential to earn more and reduce time spent idling.
“As we have more cars on the platform this would reduce the amount of surge pricing and make it more affordable for riders. This is a marketplace that we are constantly evaluating and balancing, I don’t expect the earnings of our driver-partners to be impacted at all,” he said.
Tseng added that Uber has made similar collaborations with taxi companies in other countries such as Singapore and Indonesia where a more reliable service results in an increase in the usage of its services thus able to support the larger pool of its driver-partners.
In the initial launch period as many as 200 taxi drivers from Gabungan’s, a cooperative consisting of different taxi companies, has joined Uber’s platform. This includes both sedan cars and multipurpose vehicles (MPV) though it is unclear how customers can request for specific rides just as how Uber has its UberXL option for requesting larger vehicles.
The association meanwhile, aims to add up to 500 taxi drivers join the service and eventually hopes to encourage all its taxi drivers to join the service.
More to come for Malaysia
In recent months Uber Malaysia has been spending more on its outdoor marketing, displaying billboards along prominent highways urging users to try its service. Tseng shares that this is a strategy to engage in more offline media as it is also currently being employed in Singapore and the Philippines.
When asked if this move was to challenge its long standing rival Grab, Tseng responded that it mainly wants to build its brand and increase its visibility with the campaign.
“We are growing as a company and as our marketing function and operations have expanded, we also need to expand our footprint moving to a bigger office in Bangsar South and putting our resources into new campaigns,” he added.
“Competition is good and we welcome it as it keeps us continually on our toes and ensures that we focus on giving our customers the best experience possible.”
Asked if Uber has any interest in acquiring Grab instead of competing against it, Uber’s response was that it was too hypothetical to say and declined to comment.
It did, however, state that despite being a private company, it has been transparent in disclosing its second quarter financial results which have signalled the company generating US$1.75 billion in adjusted net revenue, up 17% from the prior quarter. At the same time, it has narrowed its losses to US$645 million, down 9% as it stays focused on attaining profitability in the long term.