Last updated Tuesday, September 23, 2014 08:13am

The incomes of Klang Valley taxi drivers are threatened by Uber that offers transport service through smartphone application, GABUNGAN said. — Picture by Saw Siow FengThe incomes of Klang Valley taxi drivers are threatened by Uber that offers transport service through smartphone application, GABUNGAN said. — Picture by Saw Siow FengPUTRAJAYA, Aug 24 — The Gabungan Persatuan dan Syarikat-Syarikat Teksi Semenanjung Malaysia (GABUNGAN) has called on the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to take action against Uber, the company offering transport service through smartphone application.

Gabungan deputy president Datuk Mohd Alias Abdul said other than SPAD, the police, Road Transport Department and the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission should also work together to address the issue, which had affected the income of taxi drivers in the Klang Valley.

"The company does not have any business licence or office in Malaysia but has been operating in dozens of cities around the world through the Internet and smartphone application.

"What's worrying is that Uber does not have a taxi permit issued by SPAD and it is also believed that its drivers do not have the public service vehicle (PSV) licence. This situation will cause many problems to the passengers in the event of any untoward incidents, crime cases or road accidents," he told Bernama when contacted here today.

Mohd Alias said this in response to Uber's transport service for Klang Valley which was made available via https://www.uber.com/cities/kuala-lumpur, since last year.

Apart from the website, the service was also made available through Facebook and Twitter.

Uber is charging RM2 for every kilometre with a starting charge of RM7 and a minimum charge of RM13 for a trip.

The company's fares are fixed at RM68 for a one-way trip from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Putrajaya, RM270 for premium transport service and RM80 for budget transport service from KL to KL International Airport, and RM150 from KL to Genting Highlands, Pahang.

Mohd Alias said the Uber's transport service had affected the income of taxi drivers in the Klang Valley as the company fixed its fares based on its estimation on the distance and time of service.

Apart from that, Uber service providers did not have to bear the various costs of operation as normal taxi drivers, such as having to undergo periodical inspections at the computerized vehicle inspection centre (Puspakom), he said.

Meanwhile, Sunlight Radio Taxi Service Sdn Bhd executive director Ab Jalil Maarof said action against Uber was necessary as the company was using private cars and unlicensed 'taxi' drivers.

"It can be pretty dangerous for passengers. For their own safety, consumers are advised not to opt for the transport service offered by Uber," he said.

Koperasi Pengangkutan Putrajaya dan Cyberjaya Berhad honorary-secretary Mohd Salleh Mat Zin said it was learnt that Uber had appointed several local companies to manage the service on its behalf.

"Our initial investigation found that the company uses private vehicles to pick up its passengers. It has clearly violated the transport law in the country because a private vehicle cannot be used as public transport because as it can endanger the safety of passengers.

"Those private vehicles may have not undergo inspections at Puspakom," he said.

Furthermore, Mohd Salleh said licensed taxi operators had to pay insurance premiums four times higher than private vehicles, which aimed at ensuring safety of passengers and other road users in the event of accidents.

"The Uber service, however, does not give any indication whether its vehicles were covered by insurance," he said.

He also hoped that the government should take immediate action against the company because not only the safety of passengers was not assured, but the service would also affect the income of taxi drivers in the Klang Valley. — Bernama