Uber Malaysia introduced two new services early this week, UberFlash and UberTaxi. Both services want to bring a kind of ‘modus vivendi’ between the ride-hailing giant and taxis. At the same time, both services aime to make it easier for Malaysians to use the ride-hailing app.
With UberTaxi, Malaysian taxi cabs will be available upon request via Uber. Meanwhile, UberFlash will connect riders to the driver closest to them, whether that is a private UberX car or a taxi through its network.
A similar system of identifying the closest car is already in use by competitor Grab. It started as a taxi aggregator under the name MyTeksi before adding the private car-hailing service.
This is the latest in Uber’s efforts to diversify its services in the region. Previously, Uber users in Malaysia could only hail private cars, which resulted in tensions and even acts of violence from licensed taxi operators.
In July, Uber inked a partnership deal with Gabungan, an association representing Malaysian taxi companies. Around 500 Gabungan taxi drivers are now active on the ride-hailing app.
With the two new services, Uber claims users can expect shorter wait times, as they will be picked up by any vehicle on the network that is nearest to them, including taxis.
All UberFlash rides will be priced the same as an UberX, and riders will be able to see the fare before requesting a ride. As for UberTaxi, pricing will be based on taxi meter rates.
Warren Tseng, general manager of Uber Malaysia and Singapore, in today’s release said the company is looking forward to offering more drivers the choice of flexible earning opportunities.
In neighbouring Indonesia, Uber has partnered with taxi operator Express in an effort to localize its service. However, it’s not spun out as a separate UberFlash feature but comes integrated into UberX. Uber also recently announced a possible alliance with Singapore’s largest taxi operator.