E-hailing critic Big Blue Taxi now starts rival to Uber, Grab

Big Blue Taxi Services’ Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail has decided to offer an e-hailing service to rival Uber and Grab. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng
Big Blue Taxi Services’ Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail has decided to offer an e-hailing service to rival Uber and Grab. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 ― One of Uber and Grab’s biggest critics, Big Blue Taxi Services, has decided to offer an e-hailing service to rival the existing two.

Big Blue founder Datuk Shamsu­bahrin Ismail said that 2,900 taxis have already agreed to participate, adding that the initiative also includes offering delivery services on top of the app-based e-hailing services.

“I will fight and compete with them and do better.

“Besides offering premium services to ferry passengers, we will now also take bookings for deliveries,” local news portal The Star Online quoted him as saying.

Big Blue Taxi will collaborate with Zepto Express to provide the service. Users will be able to call for premium taxis or package deliveries all via an app.

Shamsubahrin said that the company’s e-hailing and delivery service will begin in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle area, Ampang, Bangsar and Sri Hartamas, with plans to expand to Penang and Johor in the next two months.

He claimed that Big Blue Taxi has an advantage over Uber and Grab as its taxis and drivers met all existing requirements including possessing the necessary permits and approvals from the police and Road Transport Department.

“We expect at least 70 per cent of the estimated 20,000 taxi drivers in the Klang Valley to join us,” he said.

He added that the Big Blue/Zepto e-hailing service would also be more profitable for taxi drivers as it only charged a RM5 transaction fee compared to Uber, for instance, which charged its drivers a 30 per cent commission.

In August, the Cabinet approved the Land Public Transport Authority’s (SPAD) proposal to regulate e-hailing services as part of a larger overhaul of the taxi industry.

Eleven initiatives were laid out including a proposal to transform the industry with improvements to the Teksi 1Malaysia model, and providing individual taxi permits to drivers with clean track records.