New Technology Vs Traditional Taxi, Which is more beneficial to the consumer?

New Technology Vs Traditional Taxi, which Benefit the Consumer? Case study of Grab vs Taxi.

    Since the rise of Private-Hire such as Grab/Uber that offer ‘state of the art’ technology  and offer better discounts, cheaper rate and no limitation in the range of vehicle gives the consumer a new choice in their decision to travel from point A to Point B, this gives us in the taxi industry a great impact and we believe it is time for us to take up the challenge and be innovative and change our business model in order to compete.

    Let’s start with a history of taxi in Malaysia, the taxi industry in Malaysia been serving consumer since 58 years ago which is the year 1958 where taxi’s booking mostly based on a hub and taxi will returns to hub after settling each booking. In 1987, Comfort Communication Sdn Bhd(Comfort Taxi) start serving customers booking using two-way  radio and this is called ‘Radio Call’ where job is dispatch via walkie-talkie to drivers. In 2011, Comfort Taxi embarks on a technological partnership with MYTEKSI SDN BHD to develop GPS enhancement taxi booking via mobile applications which sparks a new revolution by changing the landscape of taxi booking that delivers efficient and reliable taxi services.However, MYTEKSI SDN BHD revise their business model to offer private-hire service and Ride-Sharing service on beginning of March 2015,this resulted us Comfort Taxi to part ways with them. The dispute between two-parties prompt MYTEKSI SDN BHD to change their name to GRAB to avoid law-suit from our side.Ride-sharing is one of the alternative to decrease traffic jams, yet this only will reach high success rate with changing of our road infrastructure by  setting up High Occupancy Vehicle(HOV) lane in Malaysia, example in New Zealand , United States, Canada, Europe and our neighbouring country Indonesia.  The main purpose of HOV lane is to increase vehicle occupancy and person travelling with the goal of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution yet the effectiveness is still questionable due this lane require monitorisation and strict regulations by responsible authorities to make it  a success. In my opinion, Ride- Sharing in Malaysia still need more proper research, as it is easier said than done.

With the growth of public and private innovations, there are various of new technologies being tested and implemented in the taxi industry worldwide such as black boxes, Connected and Autonomous vehicle, smartphone apps, c and advanced vehicle technology(OBD(On Board Diagnostic),EV’s(Electric Vehicles). By this technology, we enable to monitor the movement of our fleets, understand drivers driving behaviours/patterns, and which relevant to UITP(International Union Of Public Transport) recent call for COP2 which fight to reduce carbon emission due to climate change at Marakech from 7th till 18 November this year.

Furthermore in Public Transport grew rapidly over the past years, for taxi industry autonomous vehicle and Connected car is two of the technology we’re looking forward to explore in order to improve land public transport and consumer experience. Both technologies is still in testing stages and expected to be available in the market approximately by the year of 2020.At the recent SITCE 2016 in Singapore, nudomy’s a driveless taxi test in Singapore. Next year, from 21st February till 23rd February Singapore will be hosting the first the event of Autonomous Vehicle Asia with the tittle of Strategies & Regulatory Road Map for Implementing Autonomous Vehicle In Asia. This event targeted to discuss on 5 major key points, legislation roadmap for implementing Autonomous Vehicle In Asia, Achieving High Safety Standards during test and trials for AV’S, ADAS and Autonomous Vehicle outlook, Infrastructure for the commerciliazation of Autonomous vehicle.  

What do taxi drivers think of the new innovations? Are they still desire the traditional method or new technology? Based on survey at Kl Sentral on September 2016 from total of 218 taxi drivers, from the category of Taxi’s of Budget and Teks1m(Teksi 1 US based company showcase their Autonomous Vehicle after their launched the first Malaysia) more than 96% agrees e-hailing(Mobile App booking)  is the best way for their to gain more incomes and delivering the most efficient services to consumers. In addition, feedbacks from our drivers urges taxi platform providers to be more digital hungry for new innovations and new security features which will benefit both consumer and drivers. Respectfully, both providers and authority like SPAD(Suruhanjaya Pengakutan Darat), JPJ(Jabatan Pengakutan Jalan), MCMC(Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commision) should join force in providing consistent training program and monitoring  to nurture tech savvy drivers and diminish bad drivers in order to deliver the best service for consumers.
     As a taxi service provider, leveling the playing field is vital for us, as for now taxi drivers required to apply PSV(VOKASIONAL LICENSE), undergo medical check-up, permit, and driver card(Kad pemandu) and PUSPAKOM inspections every 6 months to ensure their taxi’s is safe for consumer. In addition, taxi fleet operators are given limited choice of vehicle and obey the fare structure by SPAD ACT 2010. Meanwhile, private hire service drivers are only need to sign up online and start driving within an hour and no-cost in purchase of vehicle for private-hire operators as private-hire service gain leverage from the vehicle owned by the drivers, plus in term of pricing, private-hire are free to set their own fare-structure and change the fare as their wish.Most car used in this services fleet does not meet the minimum standards of NCAP(NEW CAR ASSESSMENT PROGRAM) of 3-stars rating. Private-Hire and Ride-Sharing business models attracts investors to inject resources,which was different from traditional taxi business models. This allows investors to sale data and data dumping without proper surveillance. We hope SPAD, as the regulator for the Land Public Transport will monitor and safeguard the industry open-up(investor) and handle this matter urgently as the pace of the new innovations is growing rapidly and timing is crucial in this era. New unregulated service is rising with no surveillance example wunderpool(car-pool) and dego ride(service by motorcycle), is motorcycle a public transport?is there loophole in the current regulation?

  ‘My smartphone is my preferred mode of transportation’ quoted from Patrick McLoughlin,UK Secretary of Transport in 2015, this proves integrations of all LPT public transports via smart mobility is the foremost way to enhance customer experience. Data by Department Of Statistics Malaysia reported smartphone users will increase to 17.8 million by the year of 2017 and 20.6 millions by year 2020 and currently more than 66% users is in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Integrated and Intelligent transport networks between all LPT is the best alternative in giving freedom of choices to consumer to plan their daily trip. Mobility services, put consumers in control as public transport will become personal and this will change our approach in running our operations and planning based on consumer priorities, smooth data flow and response to disruption of technology in LPT. For example, taxi app is able to integrate with other applications such as METER ON by SPAD, where consumers is able to check the driver details and launch complaints straight to SPAD without need to undergo a third-party provider. This is one of the best alternative to improve and provide a safe ride. Cloud based platform, is another alternative where taxi service provider, authority and regulator such as SPAD, JPJ & PDRM free to share data in order to deliver better data management and speed up the process of permit issuing, driver card, complaint management and background checks for current and new drivers.

  To conclude, both taxi application provider and taxi drivers embrace new technology in the public transport industry. Yet, we hope authority such as SPAD(Suruhanjaya Pengakutan Awan Darat) monitor and safeguard our industry and be quick in setting up new regulations that equivalent and fair for both side.


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