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Uber — The Public Transportation in Kuala Lumpur?

Katarzyna PotockaKatarzyna Potocka

As you maybe read in my previous post we’ve been to KL — as the locals call Kuala Lumpur — over a weekend for a long weekend or aka ”visa run”. And because KL covers an area of 243 skm and it’s freaking hot, we kind of were forced to check out the public transportation instead of walking as we do usually.

But what does that have anything to do with Uber?

Well, you have more than just one way of public transportation in KL. You can use taxis, you can go by bus, you can take the train or you can walk (on the street or in a very convenient AC-tunnel).

But the most convenient way to get around KL is definitely going by Uber.

What the hack is Uber?

“Uber is the best way to get around. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And you can pay with either cash or card.”

— https://www.uber.com/

So what you have to do to use Uber is as simple as it gets.

There are 4 options you can choose from:

How to use Uber?

So if you have already downloaded the app and have created an account, taking a ride is really freaking simple.

Before the ride — Booking

optional: you can change the car you want to be picked up by

@Uber app: well that’s an obvious one 😉

@pick-up location: The pin is already at your current location. If you want to change your pick-up location be aware that you can’t move the pin. For changing the pick-up location just move the map around the pin to place it on the right position. That took me a couple of seconds to figure it out, but as soon as you get used to it, it somehow even makes sense 🙂

@destination: the Uber search can help you with that if you don’t know the exact address

@set pick-up location: you now can see what the ETA of your driver is. Btw. that doesn’t mean that he won’t take the wrong exit and the ETA will be jumping from 4min to 2min back to 4min again 🙂

@choose a car: uberX is the normal everyday ride car, so that was our car of choice

 

During the ride — ChitChatting

There are some rules you should follow to make the life of an Uber driver easier. The reason why you should do it is obvious. You probably want to keep using Uber and the Uber driver probably wants to keep driving for Uber. But unfortunately but understandable the taxi drivers are not really happy with the whole Uber thing.

What we saw or were told in KL was that taxi drivers tend to scream at Uber drivers and even follow them to get their number plates and their destination. We were told that they never harm the passengers themselves, but it somehow was a really strange and uncomfortable feeling.

But apart from the nasty taxi drivers, I enjoyed almost all of our Uber rides. The guys (yes mostly guys and the only woman that gave us a ride, was the one ride that I didn’t rate that good :-() are always eager to give you some local tips where to go and where to eat if you are interested in that kind of information.

The funny thing is that no one seemed to know how long it took to build the Petronas Towers 🙂 The only answer that we got was always the same: ”Probably a couple of years”

So for all of you who are interested in getting this mystery revealed: it took them seven years to build the tallest twin towers in the world.

Btw. if you feel curious or a little bit unsecure where the driver is taking you, you can always check the proposed route that Uber suggests. So you can track yourself driving in the car within the Uber App.

After the ride

I know that giving feedback is a double-edged sword: some people love to give feedback others find it a waste of time.

I am the person who tends to think that even if I would give feedback nobody would ever care about it.

But because Gerwin told me to give feedback, I gave it a try. And because giving feedback on the ride you took with Uber is really convenient and quickly done, I started to rate all of our rides.

So one funny thing we experienced was that one of our drivers, who we asked to take us to the Botanic Garden to see the Butterfly Park and the Orchid Garden, took a longer route than suggested by the Uber App itself. And because he told us something about avoiding a area with taxis — or at least that’s what I understood — I mentioned that in my feedback I wrote. I mean I’m totally eager to adapt my behaviour while taking Uber rides and trying to make the lives of Uber drivers as easy as it gets. But I wouldn’t like to pay more, just because a driver wants to avoid a specific area of the city, because of taxi drivers.

And to my absolute astonishment we got a response concerning our feedback. But the most unexpected thing was that we got the response within a couple of minutes. Yes you read correctly, within a couple of MINUTES. One of the Uber customer service employees told us that he was really sorry that we were not satisfied with the ride. But the best part was that he agreed on the driver not taking the best route to our planned destination. AND *drum-roll* he even adjusted the price we paid for the ride, so that we got some money back.

That’s how customer support should work! *absouluteyamazedIam*

So if you got curious and you want to use Uber, check out the 3 tips below on how to behave while taking a Uber ride.

3 tips on how to behave while using Uber

To make the trip more comfortable for you and less annoying for the Uber driver, there are some rules or tips you can follow to make that happen.

What I started to do on our 2nd day in KL was waving at the Uber car to make it look like I knew the driver and was eager to see him.

Why we love Uber (for public transportation)?

It is really easy to fall in love with Uber. I mean it.

For me it was love after the first ride.

Nice and convenient rides

It was so convenient to order the ride. It never took us longer than a couple of minutes for the driver to arrive. The ride was always pleasant and sometimes even really chatty. We got a ton of good tips on what to do in KL and even some local information on KL.

No cash needed

The next advantage that you have over using a taxi is that you don’t have to fiddle around with money. The payment will be provided by the payment service you chose, while registering for Uber.

Clean, chatty and friendly

We once didn’t manage to get our Uber driver to pick us up. It was at the Botanic Garden and he somehow wasn’t able to find the right turn to get down from the highway. So because we had to be somewhere else at a specific time, we decided to give it a try and take a taxi.

Well, that was a mistake and we never repeated it in KL again.

The taxi driver was really unfriendly. The negotiated price was twice as high as it would have been with Uber. The car was really messy and let’s just say that the odour was a very interesting one.

Uber, we are sorry for cheating on you and we promise we’ll never do it again. Scout’s honor!

Where did we go with Uber?

Obviously Uber would take you anywhere near downtown, the old city (Central Market) and of course KL Sentral and the Petronas Towers.

But if you have the same doubts we had, that Uber is only for the downtown area of KL you are as mistaken as we have been.

Batu Caves

At some point we wanted to go to the Batu Caves, which have been recommended by a good friend of ours (let’s talk about that recommendation another time :-(). The Batu Caves seem to be about 20 km away from the place we were staying. The train ride would have taken us from our hotel to the Batu Caves about 45 min with having to change the public transport at least 2 times. So we decided to check out Uber and by no surprise there was some Uber driver willing to take us to the Batu Caves. That was a really nice surprise and as always a really pleasant ride. He even showed us how to find the train station for our way back home.

So you may be asking, why haven’t we taken Uber back to our hotel?

As our driver told us on the way to the Batu Caves, the traffic would be really heavy and it would take us probably much longer than going by public transport.

But going to the Batu Caves was definitely not the longest ride we’ve used Uber for.

Meeples Boardgame Cafe

The next bigger journey was taking us to the Meeples Boardgame Cafe in Sunway (Subang). We went there by train, which took us probably in total 30-40 min. We weren’t really sure how good Uber was working out of the city center of KL. But to our surprise it was really easy to find Uber drivers in this area. From the train station we — guess what — took a Uber ride to the Cafe itself. After spending there about 2 hours we ordered a Uber car to take us from Meeples Boardgame Cafe to MyBurgerLab. Also a place that was recommended to us by a good friend. After finishing our really delicious dinner (the #3 Burger on my ”Best Burgers on Earth” list), we decided to give it a try and take a Uber ride from suburbs to our hotel. And not surprising us even a little bit, it was really easy to get a Uber ride from MyBurgerLab to The Journal Hotel in KLCC.

Did I already mention that I found my favourite way to get around KL 😉

KLIA2

So after testing the limits of Uber we decided to give it one last go and try to go by Uber to the airport.

That was the part where I needed to have a plan B. Just in case the Uber driver couldn’t find the right turn to pick us up, I needed to still have the possibility to get on time to the airport. So checking with the receptionist at our hotel, I got the confirmation that they could order us a taxi for 1pm for 100 MYR. Which btw is 20 MYR less, than we paid coming from the airport to the hotel.

So after having breakfast with the organizers of KL Lean Startup Machine at VCR, we headed back home and were somehow a little bit short on time.

15 minutes to get our stuff, check out and get a Uber ride.

15 minutes later and absolutely on time we were picked up by our Uber driver, who told us that we had plenty of time to get to the airport for our 4pm plane.

55 minutes later we arrived at the airport and paid for the ~60 km 80 MYR.

Just in case you wonder: the ride by train would have cost us 120 MYR for both of us and would have taken us at least 1.5 h.

How much did we pay for 5 days public transportation KL?

The total cost for using Uber in KL for a 5 day stay was 101.8 MYR, which is about 23 €.

Convenient, right?

5 advantages of Uber

If you still aren’t sure, if you should check out Uber next time you need a quick and convenient ride, I created a short list with 5 advantages of Uber, that I found most convincing.

If you are using Uber don’t forget to give them some feedback. They are taking it serious and trying to make Uber even a better experience than it already is.

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