Taking a cab seems to be the typical way of getting around in the Klang Valley. Are there any other alternatives to get from point A to point B without the frustration of driving? Meet Uber (Not to be confused with Men Care products), a new service that offers chauffeur driven experience from your smart phone. In short, it’s like your very own personal driver on demand.
Uber began as a startup based in San Francisco, USA which they have now expanded in over 22 countries. In Asia Pacific, they have presence in Bangalore, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, New Delhi, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. With their Secret Ubers roaming on the streets of KL, we’ve recently gave it a shot.
Read on to discover our experience with Uber KL.
Choice of Ride
In the US, Uber is offered with a variety of options at different price points. It starts with UberX, which is their low cost “ride sharing” option with normal everyday cars and it goes all the way up to UberLUX which offers full luxury cars like a BMW 7 series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. With their recent debut in Malaysia, they are only offering UberBLACK which are mostly running with Toyota Camry.
Pricing wise, their base fare is RM7.00 and it goes on at RM2.00 per KM together with a time cost of RM0.30 per minute. The minimum charge per trip is RM13.
UPDATE: Uber has reduced their rates effective 28th March. Base fare at RM3 with subsequent charge of RM1.15 per KM and RM0.35/minute travelled. Overall it is even cheaper than budget taxi between 12AM to 6AM. More details here.
As comparison, the Blue Premier Taxi charges a base fee of RM6.00 followed by RM2.00 per KM with a waiting time rate of RM0.20 per 21 seconds. Both are rather close but the Uber experience is definitely a notch higher. During sign up, a valid credit card is required as Uber is an almost cash-less system that charges your card after each trip.
To find out how much the trip would cost, you can get a Fare Quote from the app by entering the Pickup and Destination points. These are merely an estimate which is subject to traffic conditions and it doesn’t include toll charges if any.
If you’re planning to head to KLIA with Uber, they charge a RM300 flat fare within the Klang Valley.
UPDATE: Uber charges a flat rate of RM270 from KL to KLIA and RM150 from KL to Genting.
The Uber Experience
We gave Uber a try on a weekday night from The Curve at Mutiara Damansara to downtown KL. With the app running, it automatically pin point your current location via GPS which you can fine tune to your desired pickup location. Most Uber cars are roaming around central KL so if you’re requesting elsewhere like in Petaling Jaya, it will take about 20-30 minutes for a car to reach you.
Currently there’s no option for scheduled pick up, so you could only request when needed. Once you’ve hit the Request pickup button, the app will automatically assign the nearest available driver to you. When a driver is confirmed, you will get to see details such as the name of the driver, rating, car model and license plate number. Shortly after, the driver would call up to confirm your location and inform of his estimated time of arrival.
While waiting, you are able to track the driver’s car in real time and if its necessary, you can call the driver directly from the app as well. Approximately 10 minutes before arrival, the Uber app will prompt that your car is close by. Our friendly driver has also given a follow up call that he’s nearby the pickup point.
When the car arrived, it was the current Toyota Camry in Silver. The driver was pretty courteous and addresses you by name. Although the website states that UberBlack has space up to 4 passengers, the Camry which we had could only fit 3 (1 at the front and 2 behind) as there’s a floor mounted bottle chiller bucket and cup holders in the middle. We are not sure if this is standard across the entire Uber fleet as this is our first and only experience.
The Uber app also gives you a couple of options while you’re on the move. You can share your travel Estimated Time of Arrival with specific contacts and you could even split the fare if you’re sharing the ride with someone else. For Fare Splitting, there’s additional charge of RM0.85 per person.
Although Uber is supposed to be cashless, you would need to pay for additional toll charges if your journey goes through toll booths. In our case, we paid RM1 for Penchala Link Toll.
UPDATE: Uber is now completely cashless. Tolls are now inclusive in the fare so no extra payment required.
Each driver would have their own Uber app running which tracks the journey and calculates the fare based on distance and time traveled. In our vehicle, he was using an iPad mini that’s mounted on the windscreen and it also displays the name of the current passenger.
Upon reaching our destination, the app will automatically calculate the total fare and you’ll get to rate your Uber experience. The rating would be a guide for future passengers and it also helps Uber to evaluate the performance of its participating drivers.
Apparently Uber drivers also get to rate passengers, so it’s just fair to be nice to the drivers as well. Our ride was a comfortable one and we’re impressed with the experience especially the ease of requesting for a private unmarked car on mobile.
The trip from Mutiara Damansara to downtime KL costs RM41 but we paid nothing with its introductory Promo Code. Another nice touch is that Uber also sends out a rather detail email receipt and travel summary as shown above.
The Uber experience in KL is rather impressive and it was better than what we’ve expected. Pricing wise it is rather steep when compared to typical taxi providers. For the price you pay, you get a more premium service which is similar to having your own limo driver in a normal looking large passenger car. This makes it more suited for business meeting with clients or taking your other half for a special night out. For now, the average waiting time for a pickup is anywhere between 20-30 minutes but we would expect this to be shorten once they have more UberBlack cars on the road.
For now, offering a premium transport is just the beginning as they are trying out new possibilities for on demand services. Earlier this year, Uber has experimented with valentine’s day flowers and ice-cream truck delivery service at selected cities. Hopefully we will get to see similar offerings here in the future.
SPECIAL OFFER: Get 2 rides Free worth RM200 (RM100 per ride) using our special promo code. More details here.
For a limited time, they are offering free RM100 on your first ride by using the code “MYUBER2”. After that, you can gain extra credits by referring your friend using your unique referral code. This will give them RM30 off on their first ride and you too will get RM30 credit in return for each successful referral.