Uber introduces UberX in KL. An even more affordable way of getting around

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UPDATE: UberX is now officially available in Kuala Lumpur.

UPDATE 2: UberBlack Rainy Days Promo has ended. Returns back to RM3 base, RM1.15/KM and RM0.35/min rates.

Getting around Kuala Lumpur can be a nightmare and Uber is a platform that lets you request a safe and reliable ride on your mobile device. With UberBlack, you can order a premium car with a professional driver which cost slightly more than your average taxi. The main differentiator is convenience as everything is done through your mobile device. It is worth mentioning that Uber is completely cashless as payment is done electronically. So you can hop onto the car and step out without worrying about loose change.

Yesterday Uber had announced its limited time special promo where its rides are offered at budget taxi-like rates which is about 20% off its standard rate. Now Uber has introduced an even more affordable option called UberX with rates that are lower than taxis. It is also accessible from the same Uber app available on Android and iOS platforms.

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UPDATE (1/8/2014): Uber now imposes toll charge in its fares. It will be shown in the receipt under the fare breakdown.

In terms of vehicles, you’ll probably get cars that are a step below its usual large sedans but they should be better than your average coloured budget taxis. On Uber X, you’ll also get the same cashless convenience as its higher UberBlack cars and its drivers also undergo stringent checks for passenger safety. In terms of charging model, Uber imposes a base fare followed by both distance AND time cost. There’s no additional payment for tolls and it is even cheaper than taking a taxi after midnight as the rates are the same 24/7. However during peak situations, Uber might attract surge pricing by percentage when demand exceeds the number of cars available. If you need something even special, occasionally there’s UberLUX which consists of luxury rides such as a BMW 7 Series, S-Class or even a Hummer H3.

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For budget and premier taxis, the base fare includes 1KM or 3 minute travel time and subsequent fare is calculated with either distance or time. So if you’re stuck in the jam, the meter will calculate based on time instead of distance. The biggest difference however is that you would need to pay for any toll charges incurred during the trip. Furthermore, all taxi rides between 12AM midnight to 6AM will also attract additional 50% surcharge. The rates above are rounded up for easy reference and you can view the taxi rates in its original charging model over here.

Just recently, the folks at MyTeksi had introduced GrabCar which is a premium service that competes with Uber. While the rates look more expensive, the total fare is calculated based on distance travelled only. So regardless of traffic conditions and time taken, you will know how much the trip will cost even before you step into the car. The only shortfall is that payment is still done by cash which is similar to regular budget and premier taxis.

For those staying in KL, it is good to have more transportation alternatives other than local budget taxis that can be frustrating to get. With the emergence of Uber and GrabCar service, the need of car ownership in KL could slowly decline as it is getting easier to move around at a more cost effective manner. We do know a couple of people who sold off their daily cars as it isn’t worth paying for car loans, fuel, toll, maintenance and not forgetting the frustrations of driving during traffic jams.