KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 29): In support of the government’s Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP) on Jan 1, 2017, Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd will launch its own E-Ticketing system which will offer passengers more certainty in the form of fixed fares to their destinations.
However, the system, unveiled by Big Blue general manager Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail here today, is not in direct competition with existing e-hailing services such as Uber and GrabCar.
“We are not going into the price war category. Our charges will be based on fares that have been approved by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD),” he said.
Having said that, Shamsubahrin said a 50% surcharge will be levied for bookings made during peak hours between 5pm and 8pm, as well as trips between midnight and 6.00am.
Under the new fare structure, passengers who take a Big Blue cab to Kuala Lumpur Bird Park from Suria KLCC will be charged a fixed rate of RM35. A trip to the National Zoo from KL Bird Park will cost RM41, on top of a RM2 booking fees.
In comparison, GrabCar charges between RM9 and RM25 for a trip to the KL Bird Park from Suria KLCC, and between RM21 and RM55 from KL Bird Park to the National Zoo.
Uber charges an estimated price range from as low as RM8.67 to RM24 for a trip to the KL Bird Park from Suria KLCC, while for trips to the National Zoo from KL Bird Park, Uber charges between RM23 to RM60, depending on the chosen type of service.
Despite Big Blue charging a slight premium price, Shamsubahrin believes the company’s service could still garner interest, given the premium service it offers.
“Our fleets are equipped with in-car entertainment system that [is] similar to [that in] air flights,” he said, noting that their taxi drivers also work for longer hours.
“We have received overwhelming response from our existing customers and they don’t mind [paying] extra for our services,” he explained.
The main difference between Big Blue and its peers is that it offers fixed rates to various tourist spots across the Klang Valley, he told a press conference, adding that the E-Ticketing system is part of Big Blue’s effort to transform the taxi industry in support of SPAD’s TITP.
SPAD had in August unveiled 11 initiatives aimed at helping the industry evolve towards a more sustainable future, especially with the entry of ride-sharing services in the public transport landscape.
The TITP is implemented based on four key principles, which are to help the industry leverage on technology; improve taxi drivers’ income and welfare; improve taxi drivers’ service quality; and rationalise taxi fares.
On this, he assured that the company will help taxi drivers stay competitive and targets to help them earn at least RM300 a day, as he believes the system can remove the need for drivers to overcharge their customers.
Under the programme, Big Blue takes a 30% commission from the taxi fare charged.
For a start, there will be two physical booths in Suria KLCC and Publika, before the company expands its footprint into other potential locations within Klang Valley.
“We are in talks with [the management of] Berjaya Times Square, KLIA and klia2, as well as Genting Highlands,” he said.
Shamsubahrin added that the company will be collaborating with Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) to set up E-Ticketing booths in its headquarters, as well as at its exhibition locations.
Shamsubahrin is optimistic that the app will increase the number of passengers using Big Blue’s services to 3,500 a day, from 2,000 a day currently at Suria KLCC alone, where it has been operating over the past six years.
“We also target another 1,500 passengers per day from our new pick-up location at Publika,” he added.
The optimistic view is premised on future collaborations with other taxi companies to expand their fleet.
“A number of budget taxi companies approached us to provide participating drivers with some assistance to transform their livelihood through cheaper taxi rental rate and additional subsidies,” he said.