Recently I had a chance to come back to Malaysia for a few days and was introduced to a few “rules” when using GrabCar, a taxi-like service that some refer to as “anti-taxi”.
The Strange Rules
- Avoid booking the start or end of your trip near taxi stands.
- If possible, put your luggage in the backseat instead of the trunk.
- One of the guests should take the front seat.
- Offer to pay before reaching your destination.
As you might have guessed, these are to avoid revealing to taxi drivers that you are using an alternative to their service. There have been cases where GrabCar drivers get bullied or their cars get damaged, simply because they provide competition.
Is GrabCar Legal?
A cursory search suggests that this is not clear-cut, but frankly I don’t care.
Taxi drivers in Malaysia like to bully their customers. Rain, traffic jam, time of day etc. are reasons for you to pay extra. You never know whether they are going the “short” way or the “quick” way. And if you call in to complain, the best you’ll get is an apology.1
GrabCar’s rate is determined when you make the booking. This eliminates the need to worry about the taxi problems above. Even better, the rate is actually cheaper than taxi. Personally I also enjoy the fact that GrabCar drivers are more friendly.
All in all, GrabCar is a better service in every way I can think of. Let the competition happen.
Is It Dangerous For GrabCar Drivers?
Probably not. They know how do deal with this.
According to a driver, the company provides insurance covering all the damage and then more. There is also a kind of performance bonus which offsets the amount taxi drivers get from haggling. Overall he seems pretty happy about his better company.
Questions or comments can go to Google+ :)
talking about “GrabCar drivers” versus “taxi drivers” in general. It goes without saying that there are good and not so good people in any group.
Of course all in this post is very anecdotal and I’m somewhat guilty for ↩