What’s your preferred way of getting around? Do you make use of public transport or rely on your own car? The way we travel is usually dictated by a handful of factors: safety, convenience, travel time, comfort and price.
Well since Uber came into the picture, most Klang Valley folks have decided to jump on the ride-sharing app that allows you to request rides at a moment’s notice. You’ll be able to hop on and off without fumbling over small change because payments are channeled through credit/debit card.
Just recently, they have revised their uberX rates and it’s now up to 50% more affordable than before. As a result, they reckon it is cheaper to rely on Uber as a daily driver compared to owning a car. This could be possible once you consider the cost associated with parking, maintenance, fuel, road tax and insurance renewals of a vehicle on a weekly basis.
To see if this is possible, we’ll be putting their claims to the test.
For a week, Rory and I (Arif) will rely entirely on Uber to get around. He’ll be commuting from his home in Bukit Puchong, while I’ll be getting around from mine, in Bukit Damansara. The difference in location will be the main variable here – suburbs vs city. On top of that, we’ll also look at how reliable, convenient and comfortable Uber is opposed to driving.
We’re looking at a big difference in travel time(s) for both of us. He takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to get to work. As for me, I’ll take about 15 minutes to 30 minutes. In terms of fuel, he forks out roughly RM65 weekly and RM20 on tolls. My end that works out to RM40 and RM5, respectively
We’ll be keeping you updated on our progress daily and can’t wait to share our experience with you.
[nextpage title=”Day 1″]
The seven-day journey has just begun and prior to beginning it I was really excited; until my driver decided to use an Adele reference when calling me to confirm my location. “Hello, from the other side” were his exact words. Took awhile to process what he said and just brushed it off.
Otherwise, this was the first time I took a split fare ride with other people – realised that it splitting means you’ll have to pay a surcharge which costs RM0.85 per person. All of the rides were quick to request within seven minutes and all drivers were pleasant. To sum up while Uber-ing, I spent no time looking for parking, paying for it and it was stress-free as I didn’t touch the wheel at all that day.
Number of rides: 3
In total: RM 22.65
I broke my uber-ginity today. It was exciting. I honestly didn’t have much hope for getting a car in the suburban ghost town of Bukit Puchong and true enough for the first 15 minutes I was greeted with the “No uberX available” banner. Bummer. Luckily, by the 20th minute, I got a ride and it was a pretty sweet Hyundai Tucson driven by a nice guy who happened to be on his way back from dropping off a passenger at KLIA 2. Imagine that. Anyway, the ride to work was awesome and being the socially awkward person I am, I got plenty of practice at small talk. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about the stress of driving.
Unfortunately, on the way back thing’s weren’t so rosy as my Uber driver seemed a little…unfamiliar with what he was doing. He kept looking at his phone for directions which in turn caused him to swerve across the lines a couple of times but in the end, I got home safe and sound. All in all, day one was pretty good and I definitely love the fact that I don’t have to worry about parking or if anyone was vandalising my poor car. It’s like a heat-seeking missile — fire and forget. I like that.
Number of rides: 3
In total: RM60.64
[nextpage title=”Day 2″]
Ahh, the refreshing experience of not having to drive was already starting to kick in. Day two began on a good note. The partner was extremely nice and we talked about stuff that mattered to us. I’m starting to realise all this human interaction has its perks. Compared to being cooped up alone driving by myself. Although, I had to wait for Surge pricing to cool down first which wasted a good 20 minutes.
But the day went stagnant and downhill from there. I’ll try to put this lightly as possible. So when I requested my (assumed) final ride for the day, I was happy that it was a nice car – Honda Insight Hybrid – but little did I know the driver was going through an emergency.
So the guy tells me he has to take a call when I first get into the car. I say sure go head. He ends up talking on the phone for more than 10 minutes. I tell him I’m cancelling the ride and getting out. He’s shocked but lets me go anyway. In the middle of the ordeal, he apologised and went back to his call.
If I was him, I would’ve not accepted my Uber request in the first place. I would’ve taken some personal time and turned off the app. And I would’ve at least told my passenger that they should cancel the ride – once he realised it was taking too long. He did none of the above.
Not long after my second Uber car came and I got in. I passed the first driver on our way out. Shafiq (my actual ride home) was a champ. We exchanged stories about tech and life till he dropped me home. Awesome guy that truly deserved five stars.
Uber refunded my cancellation fee of RM 5 after I brought up the situation to them.
Number of rides: 2 (but had to request 3)
In total: RM 19.56
Day two was a much nicer experience. The drivers were friendlier and the driving was a whole lot more comfortable too. But, when I ordered my ride to head home from the office the application crashed on me which resulted in the ride being cancelled.
When I finally got to launch the app again, the ride request went through and it was the same driver I got when the ride was cancelled — the only problem was he just went past the building. So, he had to stop in the emergency lane and slowly reverse his way back up. Sorry, Robert!
Number of rides: 2
In total: RM70.86
[nextpage title=”Day 3″]
After the waiting and extra request I had to go through yesterday, I was a little hesitant to begin day three. But luckily the first ride was the typical Uber protocol. Nothing was amiss and I got to my event on time without hitches. It was great not having to look and pay for parking in the Bangsar area.
Ride two was more or less the same. The driver was more held back and I shared the ride with my colleague from the Skop who’s taking part in the same challenge. Melvin drove us to our block and was happy to pass through the parking barrier in the process but I felt that he could’ve brought us to the office a little faster than he did.
Then on cue when leaving the office, my luck went downhill again. It took me three requests before I could get a driver that didn’t cancel on me. Also, noticed that the office building that Rory and I are working at is mapped in a different manner on GPS apps. After setting the name of the building as my location, the map on the Uber app always shows a “back” entrance that doesn’t exist.
Moving on, the first driver I requested had an issue with his phone, so he asked me to cancel. Strike one! Shortly after, the second driver told me he was stuck on a one-way road that had construction currently going on. He told me to cancel the trip – I did and was refunded after I brought it up to Uber again. Strike two!
The third guy called me, asked me where I was headed and came to the rescue. Professional and thoughtful, Mr Sredharan was really cool. At least, I’ve ended my days on a good note.
Number of rides: 3 (requested 5)
In total: RM 32.79
Ho, ho. I had my first serious run in with the dreaded “no uberX available” sign. I sat in my hall and kept requesting and requesting for a ride but to no avail. About 40 minutes later I was about to give up and go get my car keys when thankfully I got a ride. This nice young lady who was returning to her office from the hospital. Phew.
I think the fact that it was once again due to dumb luck that I managed to get a ride — after a 40-minute wait I might add — kind of shows how limited the reach of Uber is when it comes to the suburbs. Not terribly reliable in a pinch then.
Number of rides: 2
In total: RM50.07
[nextpage title=”Day 4″]
Friday is here and although I didn’t have any plans for the night I was happy to finish off the week on a good note. Thankfully after going through the crazy two past days that was filled with problems, day four was clean, painless and not bothersome. It took less than five minutes for me to get into the car for both rides and the driver’s opened up after we exchanged a few questions.
Starting to see that the navigation system in the Uber app isn’t reliable as it keeps directing people into an alley that doesn’t exist when requesting from the office. I’ll be letting Uber know regarding the mapping and we’ll see if they manage to fix the issue. Rides started to feel like second nature and on this day, I never felt that I should’ve taken my car instead of Uber-ing.
Number of rides: 2
In total: RM 23.92
It’s Friyay! That means heading into town and painting it red — on most Fridays anyway. Uber really shined in this department. While I didn’t take a ride into town after work, opting to take the train because KL at rush hour (duh), and meeting up with my buddies at a restaurant we had booked. After dinner we headed to a quiet little watering hole and at a touch of a button, an uberXL was ready to ferry us through the jam. Super dope.
After we’ve had our fill of multicoloured liquids, another tap at 2 am brought another uberXL to send us home. It was awesome not to have to drive home in the dead of night. You can actually chill and just enjoy the open roads without struggling to keep your eyes open. Definitely a welcomed change.
Getting a ride in the morning was not longer than my usual 15-20 minutes, and getting a ride in the heart of KL wasn’t difficult either, so kudos to Uber today. It was annoying that when we were heading back after our visit to the watering hole, I wanted to drop my friend off at her house before heading home but my driver ended the trip and started a new one before asking me which means I had to pay an extra base fee. He said that he didn’t know that he could just leave it on because he was new. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let it slide.
Number of rides: 5
In Total: RM106.42
[nextpage title=”Day 5″]
Whenever the weekend hits, I’m usually the first to make sure my days are filled.
However, this day was a somber occasion. I won’t go further into detail but using Uber was definitely out of the question. My friend opted to drive and we headed to wherever we needed to throughout the day.
No travelling was done. Spent some quality time chilling at home.
[nextpage title=”Day 6″]
Capped my weekend off by staying at home and resting before the long week ahead. Didn’t need to leave the house as there was nothing to attend to.
Day six was just a regular commute though I’ve begun to pick up on the slightly annoyed tone several drivers have when they call me to tell me that they’re on the way. I get the distinct impression that they’re trying to get me to cancel the ride so they don’t have to travel that that far to pick me. Geez, it’s only been six days and I’m already running into people like this. Not too happy about that.
Had a short dinner date in PJ so I got a ride to Jaya Shopping Centre before dropping my date off at her place and heading home. When I got a ride to pick me up from her house though, the driver showed up with a different car. It is worth noting that he did inform me beforehand so I didn’t feel too bad. Beyond that, nothing too spectacular happened. I will let you in on a little secret though — I miss driving already.
Number of rides: 3
In Total: RM60.97
[nextpage title=”Day 7″]
We’re finally here. A day that comes with mixed feelings. Am I supposed to happy or sad that the Uber Challenge is coming to its end? Well, to sum up the day went smooth aside from one little hitch – or seemed to be a hitch but wasn’t. Anyway, the first ride
Anyway, the first ride was as smooth as it could be. I had to venture into our concrete jungle that is KL. But thankfully, it was Federal Territory Day, so everyone who was supposed to be jamming up the roads into the city were on public holiday. Hooray? Not really, I still had to work.
Arrived at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre without any issues of angry taxi drivers harassing the Uber partner who picked me up. John was probably the 4th retired engineer I met and it’s great to see that Uber allows them to still earn some moolah while getting out of the house. He did, however, have some trouble finding the location but with some luck, he turned onto the right road.
Ride number two was awesome too. Shared the ride with my colleague from theSkop and we got back to the office with no problems. Ms. See was also kind enough to drive around the complex to drop us at our office block.
And finally, the last Uber ride of the day and the last to end the UberChallenge. How’d it go? Well, I requested the car before my colleague did but he was luckier, as his driver arrived earlier than mine. It wasn’t a big deal but what the frustrating thing about it was the Uber app didn’t update his location properly – yes, first world problems. It lead me to believe he was still eight minutes away when in fact he just pulled up to the driveway. A caveat that relies on GPS technology to inform riders and partners where one another are located.
Akmal and I connected and shared stories while he helped me get home. It’s things like this I’ll miss about taking Uber.
Number of rides: 3
In total: RM34.24
This is it, day 7, the finale of our Uber Challenge and to tell you the truth? I’m glad. When this started, it was a honeymoon thing. I thought not having to drive was great, but eventually, I realised just how inconvenient it was for someone like me. But, that’s a story for another time.
Day 7, how was it? It was alright. In the morning, I waited my usual 20 minutes for the driver to arrive, then spent a couple of hours polishing my small talk skills, before arriving at the office. On the way back, it was pretty much the same deal. What was nice was that I got to sit in a Kia Forte — a car I used to covet — both times.
Number of rides: 2
In total: RM49.88
Since we’re comparing owning a car and Uber, we’ll have to consider the money you’ll fork out. The car that we chose was a Perodua Myvi 1.3 Standard G D3GZ3 (auto). On its own that car will cost RM 39,735.43 plus an additional RM 2,386.53 for insurance, road tax and other miscellaneous fees for Peninsular Malaysia.
Using Perodua’s loan calculator, if you initially put a 10% down payment deposit, with an interest rate of 4.5% and paid it over 7 years, it’ll work out to RM 618 per month or RM 142.60, instalment by week.
A full tank will run you back RM70 and that should get you by for seven days. Then you’ll have (unofficial) servicing that costs in the region of RM 125, ideally you’ll be servicing four times a year and divide that by 52 weeks, it’ll be around RM9.60 per week.
Not taking into account cost for tires that you’ll probably change after 2 or 3 years – they usually go for RM 250 a pop, make sure you multiply that by four, weekly that’ll account for RM9.60.
Adding it all up, running a new Myvi would amount to RM 231.80 weekly.
Also, be sure to factor in that after the first year, you’ll have to pay your insurance on top of your instalments and other costs listed above.
But if you’re a cautious driver, your accident-free car will begin to receive discounts on that very insurance because of NCD and of course, your car’s value drops as it ages. Please don’t forget to add costs for tolls and parking.
Replace your car with Uber if you fulfil the following:
Commute less than 35 km in a day
Live nearby your campus or office
Live in an area that has many drivers looking for passengers
Are a chatty person (most of the times)
Want to network while getting to the places you need to go
Pay at least RM 10 for parking daily
Willing to plan your commute in advance
It’ll probably be a waste of time detailing the “Don’t replace Uber with your car if” since it’ll just be the opposite of what I listed above. Apply opposites of the rules and you’ll get your answers.
It was definitely cheaper for me to Uber, once you factor in the cost of road tax, insurance, fuel, maintenance, toll and parking fees. Based on that would there be enough reason to give up your personal car? Nope, not for me. When driving, there is never a time I think that I shouldn’t be driving, even when stuck in a standstill for half an hour.
Putting your reputation – based on tardiness or timeliness – in the hands of an Uber driver is hard to do. Often the partners that were at the wheel are newbies; They’d barely had a month (some only a week) of experience under their belt. Usually, they weren’t from the Klang Valley area, so you’ll have to also direct them if you think Waze is too unreliable.
But you need to keep in mind that at a moment’s notice, Uber can save your butt – even from a DUI. That my friends, is something extremely handy.
What about the people driving you?
Honestly, they’re just regular people that’ll get you where you need to be. Be nice to them, appreciate them and understand them. That’s what Uber is all about to me, connecting with people while getting to where you need to be.
To cap off, I wouldn’t replace my car but sometimes, I’d choose an Uber over my car. Mainly cause of the parking, the driving and just the prospect of networking with some cool people. Guess I’m being diplomatic – hah!
It has been an eventful week. Full of ups and downs and wow I sound like I’m writing the valedictorian speech that kickstarts 9/10 coming-of-age comedy movies. Let’s get straight to the point shall we?
Can I use Uber on a daily basis? Yes.
Would I use Uber on a daily basis? Nope.
Can Uber replace my car? Nope.
Is Deadpool an awesome movie? Yes.
This Uber Challenge was an interesting one for me, especially since prior to this I had never used the ride-sharing service. The challenge was to find out whether Uber could replace my car and my answer is, unfortunately, no. It’s simply far too convenient for me to have a car around — convenience Uber doesn’t afford.
I can store emergency supplies if needed, like an extra pair of shoes, a change of clothes and even various documents that would be too bulky to carry around, in my car. I also use my commute times to think, something I can’t do when I often have to converse with the Uber driver. That said, this is probably something that is unique to me so it might not be the case for everyone. But, the biggest reason why it won’t replace my car, even if I didn’t mind the incredibly high cost, is the time it takes to get a ride.
When I want to head out for a bite to eat or to pick up something from the supermarket, I can’t just up and go. I have to plan about 40 minutes in advance because my average waiting time for a ride is about 20 to 40 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I get very discouraged to leave the house when I remember that I could probably finish an entire episode of Arrow before a ride arrives.
While Uber has a lot of benefits — like not having to look for parking, being able to rest during your commute and meeting some truly interesting people — its cons simply outweigh the pros for me. It’s simply too hard to justify the cost and the inconvenience of waiting for a ride, to use it daily. I will definitely continue to use it when travelling from the office to events and back though, as it is not only more convenient, it also helps me keep track of my spending easily via the payment history.
Would I recommend that suburban residents ditch their car for Uber? No. I’d say the sweet spot is a combination of the two, not one or the other.