Our Desk | What is it like without Uber?

Lynzy Valles

The exit of Uber in the city has left many residents upset and frustrated, furious and ridiculed.

After trying so hard to legalize its service in Macau, the ride-sharing giant decided to press pause during the third week of July, which came as a surprise to many Uber users.

Following its announcement that it is leaving the territory, several Facebook users have strongly criticized relevant authorities, as despite the firm’s effort to communicate with government departments, no fruitful dialogues were established.

Uber admitted that it was not able to secure a business environment in which it could continue to unlock the full benefits of ride-sharing, yet it expressed the hope that its decision to leave Macau will bring positive changes.

It could be understood that the company’s operation in Macau is illegal, yet the public was hoping that the government would spend at least some effort to create a jurisdiction in relation to ridesharing.

In a territory that aims to be a smart city, and with the region’s recent strategic partnership with the renowned Alibaba Group, one wonders what would be Macau’s way of creating smart transportation.

Don’t we need to partner with ride-hailing services to combat challenges to smart transportation?

Uber has served residents in the most significant way one would imagine. From providing job opportunities to local residents who were tired of working on shifts in gaming operators, or offering employment to entrepreneurs who were forced to close their businesses due to absurd rental prices, to delivering quality service.

The public has not even heard of a string of allegations about the aggressiveness of Uber drivers, which made it harder for them to understand Uber’s exit.

Although authorities have reiterated its illegality in the territory, also citing safety concerns, the ride-sharing giant has showed residents why it should stay in the city.

The rise of taxi fares did not also help residents’ dilemma, nor that of the region’s Radio Taxi.

Recently, Radio Taxi, which is the only legal app-based taxi hailing company in the territory, admitted that it failed to answer the requests of approximately 70 percent of passengers.

According to their data, Macau Radio Taxi received 320,000 calls but shamefully failed to respond to 200,000 calls due to shortage of taxis and drivers.

The app is only operating 50 vehicles and fails to serve the city’s population of 650,000.

Uber’s integration in Macau has offered much convenience to the public, such as to those who could not communicate in the local language.

Yet, the ride-sharing giant that operates at such reasonable prices was sadly seen as the antagonist in Macau’s transportation tale.

With the degrading quality of the region’s transportation network, Uber riders would agree that it made traversing the crowded city easier and more convenient.

If taxis and taxi drivers were more efficient, residents would stop slamming relevant authorities for suppressing the use of the ride-hailing app. But then again, one would wonder what actually was the main reason behind suppressing Macau’s jurisdictions over ride sharing.

Uber Macau’s fruitless battle for nearly two years is not stopping the company from making a comeback – a return residents will be waiting for.

With a lack of alternatives for such modes of transportation, residents are forced to wait and hail a taxi on the streets and hope they won’t be overcharged,  and non-Chinese speakers have to line up in taxi stands and hope they will be understood.

For now, commuters will also have to hope that they will not be a part of the 200,000 calls that were not accommodated by Macau Radio Taxi.

Categories Opinion