The ever popular Uber ride share program and other similar programs have been facing fierce resistance from established taxi companies and unions. Simply put, these established organizations don’t want Uber, Lyft, or anyone else entrenching on their turf. And now the status of these ride share programs in Malaysia is coming under question.
Malaysian Uber fans suffered quite the scare yesterday when reports came out that the national government had banned the ride sharing program. The government did in fact rule that Uber’s current operations were illegal but it now appears to be more of an issue of getting the correct permits.
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Uber’s future in Malaysia, however, is now debatable. How Uber will adapt to local regulations and whether it will be able to obtain the necessary permits remains to be seen. Outside of Malaysia, ride sharing programs are being examined for their legality in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere.
Drive-share Offers Competitive Advantages Over Traditional Taxis
The drive-share programs work by connecting potential riders with potential drivers. In many cases drivers are using their own personal cars to provide people rides. Traditional taxi companies and their proponents argue that this system allows people to circumvent the restrictions put in place on taxi drivers.
These restrictions were often put in place to help ensure the safety of riders, and to make sure that they are not getting ripped off. For example, requiring drivers to obtain special driving permits will help ensure that they are higher quality drivers. Having taxis use meters also ensures that passengers won’t be ripped off.
Proponents of drive-share programs argue that their programs accomplish all of the same things at a much lower cost. Since cars are tracked by GPS and money is handled by the app company, riders don’t have to worry about being ripped off. At the same time, the ride-share programs vet and train their drivers, and also provide rating and feedback systems.
Ride Sharing Programs Have Questionable Legal Status
The legal status of ride-share programs is highly questionable. For consumers, such programs are a practical blessing, allowing them to cut through the bureaucratic fat of taxi services.
In Malaysia, Uber and other similar programs also have the added benefit of battling corruption. Malaysia’s taxi drivers are notorious for refusing to use the meter and demanding extra payment. A 5 ringgit (USD 1.50) can quickly become a 10 or 15 RM charge.
Many local governments in the United States and across the world are already trying to outlaw ride-share programs, so it should come as no surprise that Malaysia is doing the same.