Uber, the software company that connects drivers and riders has made available its service in Malaysia. Known as Uber Black, Malaysian can now call for a limousine and enjoy a luxurious ride in Kuala Lumpur via the mobile app.
When a rider orders a car, they will receive the driver and vehicle information immediately and watch real time on the map where the car is and how long it will take for the pick-up. The route is tracked via GPS and customers will be billed directly to their credit card(and soon Paypal). No cash payment are accepted.
The base fare for using Uber starts from RM7 the moment you enter the car and then users will be charged at RM0.30 per minute plus RM2 for every kilometer.
Some sample fares include (varies based on traffic):
- KLCC to Jalan Bukit Bintang: (RM13 – RM15)
- KLCC to Bangsar Baru: (RM29 – RM37)
- KLCC to KL Sentral: (RM26 – RM33)
- Subang Jaya to Publika: (RM64 – RM71)
- KL to KLIA: (Flat Rate of RM300)
- KL to LCCT: (Flat Rate of RM300)
At the moment, 5 luxury vehicles are used in KL, they are Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Teana, Mercedes E-class & BMW 7-Series.
Apart from enjoying a comfortable ride, Malaysians could surf the Internet via the free WiFi hotspot made available in every Limo & private cars.
In an interview with MalaysianWireless, we asked Mike Brown the regional General Manager of Uber in Southeast Asia, why the service will be popular in Malaysia despite KL is known for its traffic congestion. We were told that a number of Malaysians are willing to pay for comfort and quality.
“Uber is safe, because we do background check every drivers, you can share your journey with your friend, before of after the ride. We inspect every cars and make sure that every cars meet our standard and we think that is attractive to people who care about quality.”
The Uber Black service is targeted to cosmopolitan people in KL. Mike said these include professional people, those who “enjoy going to restaurant or enjoy nightlife and people who don’t want to drive.”
Unfortunately, Mike did not reveal the number of limos currently available via the service in KL or or the limo companies behind Uber Malaysia. However he said that the company wants to improve on the waiting time by increasing the number of limos on the road.
From a revenue perspective, Uber generates “hundreds of millions of dollars” annually in other cities and it expect to do the same here(in Malaysia).
In terms of customer service, Mike says that Uber has a small team in Malaysia. At the end of every ride the client rates the driver, and the driver also rates the rider. The local Uber customer service team will respond to all customer comments, and “make it right” including terminating the driver if its required.
Moving forward, Mike said that Uber intends to introduce its service to more people in KL. In other cities, as part of its promotional campaign, Uber allowed its customers to hire ice cream trucks to come to a specific place, including one of several ice cream packages, for a flat fee.
The company also intends to expand the Uber Black service to Penang & Johor and offer a cheaper service called Uber X in Kuala Lumpur, however Mike could not say when these would happen.
Globally, the company first launched its services in June 2010 in San Francisco, United States and expanded to over 20 cities by the end of 2012. The service is now available in over 65 cities in 25 countries that include London, Paris, Washington DC, Munich, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Bangalore, Manila, Seoul, Taipei and now Kuala Lumpur.
Uber first entered the Asian market in February 2013, by launching in Singapore. The company began beta-testing its product in several other Asian cities after that and finally made it’s way to Kuala Lumpur in late October 2013, making it the 6th city in Asia.
P.s: Get a free RM60 credit off your first ride with Uber, visit this link. Note that credit card required to setup a new account.