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Cover Story: Just Tap That App

By Murni Fazira

Online service, also known as e-service like food delivery and e-hailing as in transportation, is widely used in Malaysia. Ipoh is no exception, being a hotspot for such services. It is commonly used by many to the extent that it has become a necessity of many Ipohites.

Food Delivery and Hailing a Ride has Never Been Easier

If you are hungry at odd hours, all you have to do is grab your phone to place an order. Thirsty and craving for some bubble tea? Yes, it is possible to get them within an app. The traffic in Ipoh can be hectic at times and driving during peak hours can be stressful but with available e-hailing services, there is no need to worry about the busy traffic.

These services are available at your fingertips. All you need is your mobile phone and internet connection. You could browse online anytime and anywhere. Just tap that app to get started!

Well-known companies such as Grab, MyCar, RunnerMyRun, GrabFood, foodpanda and more are known to be the most used platforms for e-hailing and delivery services. In fact, as these companies are growing, new ones are emerging from time to time.

With security guarantees like tracking codes, receipt numbers, and real-time updates there is nothing to worry about during the delivery. As for e-hailing services, their security measures are being taken more seriously, making users feel safer whenever taking a ride. For example, an emergency call button is made available on the app.

Besides that, easy payment methods via the e-wallet are available for easy transaction. Just top-up your e-wallet and fret not about not having small change when you book for a ride or order food.

Having to rate your driver or rider is a plus point for the user as they get to be the judge of the service received. It is one of the ways the drivers or riders improve themselves.

Most users rely on such apps to avoid traffic, queue and parking issues. Let’s face the fact that some consumers enjoy the convenience. No hassle rethinking about the traffic, route and parking spot. When it comes to food, there is just no more asking where to eat.

 

E-hailing

Many of our Ipohites are too lazy to drive due to the traffic congestion and some just have no transportation means at all. With e-hailing services, worry no more about having to find the right route, heavy traffic and parking difficulties.

According to the e-hailers, they get many working adults as customers heading to work, lunch and back from work. Plus, they even receive requests from parents to send their children to school.

A Grab driver in her 30s said she gets school students sometimes if she is on the job early.

“I get various types of passengers from different age range and occupation and if I start my job at around 7am in the morning, I sometimes have to send kids to various schools,” she said.

Parents who send their children off to school using e-hailing services are kept updated as the location of the cars are tracked online. Teachers are also informed beforehand about the students arriving at school using the service to ensure their safety and security.

“Whenever I am not in Ipoh or unable to send and fetch my kid from school, I call or text him first to make sure he knows that he is heading to school using this service. I can locate his location as I can see the driver’s route through my phone and I’ll call his teacher first to make sure he reaches school safely,” said Muzzafar, a 42-year-old working father.

Muzzafar also said that he uses the app for travel purposes whenever he goes out of town.

“E-hailing services have benefited me as I travel a lot. Be it a business trip or a holiday trip, I use this service to avoid getting lost on my way to my destination and I hate the hassle of looking for a parking spot. It is really convenient to use,” he said.

The demand for e-hailing services in Ipoh is not as much as big cities like Kuala Lumpur or Penang. The roads themselves not as busy. After the PSV (Public Service Vehicle) licence was made compulsory, the number of drivers decreased which in turn slowed down the e-hailing service.

Interviewed about the increasing demand of customers in Ipoh, Abdul Hafiz, a 36-year-old part-time e-hailing driver said, “I just started this job about two to three months back. Ipoh has quite a high demand for e-hailing services. I get customers mainly like working adults heading to work or going out for lunch. I even get college students around here”.

“I am a frequent e-hailing customer. Mainly I use them to get to work since I don’t have a licence. Even if I do, I prefer taking Grab. I don’t have to think much about my car’s fuel and a parking spot. I don’t even have to endure any traffic issues,” said Joelyn a 24-year-old working adult.

Many have agreed that the e-hailing service is much preferred compared to driving on their own.

 

Food Delivery

Hearing the honk in front of your house is just bliss knowing that your food has been delivered right to your doorstep. Ipoh is known as a food haven and food delivery is now trending as the number of food delivery riders are increasing in line with its consumers.

The benefits are aplenty: fast, efficient and getting the order right. There is also less guesswork for the restaurants receiving the order as the selected meals automatically appear on the screen for take-outs.

“I have five food delivery apps and I love them. It is ideal for private and bigger functions I have at work or at home,” said Joelyn.

“My usual ordering hours would be from 1.30pm to 11pm. Despite the weather, I still receive food safely from the delivery guy. Not having a license and being at home alone are the reasons I use this app,” she continued.

Worried that your food might be late? Adam, 22, who is a student, said that he gets special deals at times if the food arrives late.

“It is easy to use and I don’t have to go out for food, especially for my lunch. The traffic is just crazy and not to mention the lack of parking spots. Plus for some deliveries, they give you coupons if they exceed the ETA,” he said.

Mohd Izwan Syamil

Mohd Izwan Syamil, a 21-year-old student who is also a foodpanda rider shared his experience.

“I started working in June 2019 and so far I like this job. It’s like a freelance job as I can work at my own time and pace and it is also easy work. To me it is worth the pay,” said Izwan.

“Throughout my stint which began in June 2019, there has been some increase in demand especially during lunch and dinner hours during the weekdays. I even take orders during rainy days. The usual customers I encounter are working adults,” he said.

Izwan shared with Ipoh Echo some of his most memorable orders: “Once I got an order that required an assistant rider as it contained two big platters of ‘Nasi Arab’ from a restaurant named Nasi Arab Special Taman Cempaka”.

“The order was literally two trays of rice and was too big to fit in my food bag and I had to request for an assistant rider to bring the other platter. It was just a few weeks back that this happened,” said Izwan.

“The app is undeniably beneficial but for me personally, I wouldn’t want to use the app. I feel like only the lazy ones would use it for their own convenience,” he continued.

Imagine having a party and later realising that food is running out – that’s another scenario to tap that app.

 

Food Safety Concerns

Sayantan Das, Managing Director, foodpanda, had this to say, “As the spread of COVID-19 continues to unfold, foodpanda takes the situation very seriously. We have put precautionary measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of employees, partners and customers alike. As an effect of the recent outbreak of the COVID-19, foodpanda has established a dedicated committee in charge of implementing measures to ensure the health and safety of our internal and external stakeholders. In line with the recommendations from the World Health Organisation and local health ministries, our teams have already issued a series of informed precautions. We will continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 to implement further measures as necessary”.

 

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