KUALA LUMPUR: As the adage goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
That’s exactly what a group of taxi companies is doing by teaming up with Uber, the ride-hailing service that provoked angry protests from taxi drivers when it first arrived on the scene.
Big Blue Taxi Services founder Shamsubahrin Ismail said a coalition of taxi companies and associations (Gabungan Persatuan dan Syarikat-syarikat Teksi Semenanjung Malaysia) would sign an MoU with Uber tomorrow which would enable some 500 taxi drivers to leverage the app.
“This will allow the taxi industry and Uber to coexist, especially since SPAD has given Uber the green light to operate,” he said, alluding to the Land Public Transport Commission.
Shamsubahrin said it would benefit taxi drivers to share a platform with Uber, whose strong reach would enable them to earn more.
“All taxi drivers need to do now is improve their services.”
Shamsubahrin was previously at the forefront of protests against Uber and Grab, that were labelled as “illegal taxi drivers”.
At one point, he threatened to take legal action against the ride-sharing services.
In May last year, Shamsubahrin even launched a taxi-hailing app, said to have been developed at a cost of RM700,000, to help taxi drivers boost their income after they suffered significant losses due to competition from Uber and Grab.
Shamsubahrin’s U-turn with regard to Uber comes two months after he openly apologised to SPAD for lashing out at the commission over its failure to rein in the ride-sharing services.