Is Taking Uber In Malaysia Cheaper Than Owning A Car?
If you are stuck in the all-too-common nightmarish traffic in the Klang Valley every day, going to and leaving work, you will doubtlessly have dreamed about being chauffeured in a nondescript luxurious black car, while checking your email or even taking a selfie without risking a car accident.
Enter Uber, a service that offers a chauffeur driven experience from your smart phone. It’s like your very own personal driver on demand, without paying through your nose. It was all grand and very well-received until the recent furor over the legitimacy of Uber in Malaysia.
Most Uber users deem the service as a public transportation game changer, especially in a country where public transportation is still not at its best. We have heard many Uber users defending the service. These are not just your run-of-the-mill customers, but they act like brand ambassadors for Uber.
There’s no doubt about the quality of the service, but is it really worth it to let go of your car and commute with Uber only in the Klang Valley? Or is it too risky?
Here, we take a look at the cost of taking Uber and owning a car in the Klang Valley for a regular middle-class Malaysian.
What’s the cost difference?
Before we lay the costs down, let’s set a few assumptions to make the calculations general and simpler. A Uber user should:
- Live in a city where Uber is available.
- Never use any other mode of transportation other than Uber.
- Be indifferent about the wait time for an Uber vehicle.
Most Malaysians own a car to get around. A middle-class individual driving a Proton Preve, will incur at least this much every month:
Based on the calculation above, an average city driver, driving a Proton Preve, would be incurring at least RM1,399.80 a month. This does not include any untoward incidents like car breakdown, traffic summons or road trips out of town.
However, with the same commuting pattern as the above example, by taking UberX exclusively, one can save about RM742.50 a month!
An individual travelling at least 1,000 km a month, would roughly need to commute about 70 times a month, to various destinations in town.
The calculation is as follows:
However, due to the crackdown by Road Transport Department (RTD) and also Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), UberX is no longer available easily. Some newer versions of the app has completely removed the option of UberX.
The cost of using Uber Black increases significantly:
Based on the same example, an individual using Uber Black would have incurred this much of money a month:
Without UberX, it is no longer a money saving option for Malaysians as a substitute of owning a car. Of course, having your own car will always be more convenient. Even with Uber, you may have trouble getting a driver near you, or you will have to plan in advance where and when you need to travel.
Can you sell your car and take Uber?
According to Uber user, Jason Chan, switching to Uber is not just about saving money but also about the benefits and convenience.
Chan, who used to pay about RM4,000 a month just for his car repayment, is now spending way lesser in transportation after selling off his car and taking Uber exclusively. However, with Uber Black, the savings may not be significant, or it may even cost more than owning a car, for most Malaysians.
“I’m spending about RM1,500 a month using Uber, and I used to spend about RM5,000 when i used to own a car. And that is excluding maintenance, insurance and roadtax! However, for those who spend less than RM1,500 a month in their car ownership, it won’t be much of a saving,” shared Chan.
“The reason why Uber makes sense even without UberX is because of the convenience it offers. You don’t need to worry about drunk driving, finding a parking , or wasting precious time stuck in a traffic jam.”
However with the recent crackdown on private drivers, it has become much harder to get a car, especially if you are outside of Kuala Lumpur, like in the suburbs of Petaling Jaya.
As the Uber drama continues to unfold in Malaysia, we’ll have to wait and see if there is a way around the company offering the same service without breaching any laws in the country.
For now, it may be too early to sell off your car and enjoy being chauffeured around town.
Having a hard time finding a good and affordable car in Malaysia? Find out why car prices are high here.
Find out how you can save money on petrol by answering this simple quiz.
* Commuting from Petaling Jaya to Damansara Heights for work is equivalent to 15km one way. For a 22-work-day month, this will result in about 660km mileage. Other travel destinations include entertainment, eating out, etc. which we assume to amount to 724.6km in 26 to-and-fro trips.
** This is just an estimate. Actual fares may vary based on traffic and discounts.
Prices quoted during non-peak hours, and without including price surge.