KUALA LUMPUR: The mother-and-daughter team of Dr Sazlina Kamaralzaman and Siti Sarah Anuar is determined to give established e-hailing companies a run for their money.

They incorporated MakCik Travels last November to provide women with a safer option for ride-hailing services. Starting with 20 drivers, they now have more than 200 drivers in their account and receive some 800 bookings for rides every month, not only in the Klang Valley but also in states like Kedah, Perak and Kelantan.

They are targeting to have 400 drivers and 200 chaperones on board nationwide by year-end.

To be different from other e-hailing companies, they introduced a chaperone service in April this year to assist senior citizens and women with disabilities to go to the clinic, hospital or other places with the help of a companion.

Dr Sazlina, 48, a lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said it all started when her daughter Siti Sarah, 20, was studying at Kajang Vocational College and offered ride-sharing services to fellow female students in the campus who wished to go to nearby destinations.

Seeing the good demand for the service, Dr Sazlina then decided to join forces with her daughter and expand the service to the local community in Bangi, Selangor, where they lived.

“Using our own savings of RM10,000 as capital we registered MakCik Travels,” she told Bernama, adding that later they expanded their service to Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and other states.

Empower women

MakCik Travels offers two types of services, namely MakCik Drives where the driver picks up her customer and sends her to her destination, and MakCik Chaperone where a companion will assist the customer with her needs.

“Most ladies want to feel safe when they travel by taxi or car and they prefer women drivers. We also get a lot of requests for our chaperone service, especially from elderly women who need assistance to go to the clinic, hospital or dialysis centre,” she said.

As MakCik Travels aims to empower women, it encourages housewives, single mothers and university students to generate an income for themselves by registering as drivers and chaperones with the company. Some drivers take on the role of a chaperone as well which enables them to earn more.

According to Siti Sarah, women who wish to come on board as drivers and chaperones are interviewed and assessed first.

“Those who want to be drivers must have a valid driving licence and a well-maintained car which is very important for our services.

“As for those who wish to offer their services as companions, we will provide them with the relevant training as most of our customers who need this service are elderly and require the necessary assistance,” she added.

MakCik Travels drivers and chaperones receive about 80 percent of the total payments made by customers.

Advance booking required

To get a driver or chaperone through MakCik Travels, one would have to make a booking at least two hours in advance before the actual trip. The booking can be done on its website www.makciktravels.com or via WhatsApp or a phone call.

Dr Sazlina said the company plans to enhance its services by developing a mobile application to ease bookings, as well as a tracking system for drivers and chaperones for safety purposes.

“The app is now almost 80 percent complete and hopefully by year-end, it can be used. Customers can get the automated price (for their trips) after they key in their details,” she said.

Norazah Salleh, 47, from Shah Alam who signed up as a driver with MakCik Travels in August, said she found the flexible working hours convenient and so far the business has been good too.

“I get a lot of requests to drive customers from their homes to their office. At times I also get bookings from women who go out at night and return home late. I am only too happy to drive them home safely,” she said, adding that she can earn up to RM200 a day.

Her daughter Nur ‘Amirah Kamaruddin, 23, who has a degree in forensic chemistry analysis from Universiti Teknologi Mara, is among MakCik Travels’ list of chaperones and one of her first jobs was to take care of an elderly woman.

“I accompanied her to the hospital about three times a week and earned about RM80 a day for the job,” she said.

Nur ‘Amirah said she had previously gone for training in care-giving at the National Kidney Foundation and the knowledge she gained has helped her to provide the necessary assistance.

Dr Sazlina also said that her company is in discussions with the National Heart Institute on a collaboration to provide companionship service to their elderly patients.

“We think this is an opportunity and we hope to collaborate with them soon,” she said, adding that MakCik Travels is also looking into introducing a group insurance scheme to protect their drivers and chaperones. – Bernama