MyTeksi drivers to go dark in protest of Uber, GrabCar

A group of taxi drivers protested in front of MyTeksi headquarters yesterday, demanding the suspension of the GrabCar mobile app, which has been compromising their livelihood. ― File pic
A group of taxi drivers protested in front of MyTeksi headquarters yesterday, demanding the suspension of the GrabCar mobile app, which has been compromising their livelihood. ― File pic

PETALING JAYA, June 30 — Taxi drivers have pledged to turn off MyTeksi application and refuse providing service to any customer for the next seven days, beginning yesterday, in protest against Uber and MyTeksi-owned applications, GrabCar.

A group of approximately 300 taxi drivers protested in front of MyTeksi headquarters yesterday morning, causing traffic congestion along Jalan Kemajuan, demanding the suspension of the transport-hire mobile application, which has been compromising their livelihood.

GrabCar is an online service offered via the MyTeksi app, which allows passengers to hail ordinary cars, and in which drivers need not possess a public driver’s licence to register.

Subang Jaya Taxi Drivers Association (PPTSJ) Secretary Mathavan Subramaniam explained that GrabCar went against various rules set by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

“Taxi drivers have to undergo a health screening test before being eligible for a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence, which in turn is a prerequisite to drive a taxi,” Mathavan said.

“However, GrabCar is not subjected to this rule. Their vehicles are not inspected by Puspakom and they do not have the safety authorisation to carry passengers.

“This is a clear violation of SPAD rules, but GrabCar is still in operation.”

He also said that these apps offer flat rates, which are lower than a metered taxi fare, and such tactics has caused loss of business for a high number of taxi drivers.

“When the industry is as such, how are we supposed to make a living and take care of our families?” he added.

“We are unable to pay rental to the taxi companies, sometimes.”

Mathavan said reports on the matter have been lodged to SPAD, but until now, no action has been taken.

“We have sent many reports to them, but they only said one thing: ‘We will inform our enforcement team to take action’.”

Also present was Malaysian Taxi Drivers’ Transformation Association (PERS1M) Deputy chairman Kamarudin Mohd Hussain, saying he was disappointed with SPAD for not protecting the industry.

“Until today, SPAD has not been responsible and has failed in its duties; and I urge (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib Razak to revamp SPAD and its officers,” Kamarudin said.

“The industry is becoming more and more damaged because people do not care about the industry.”

He also said that it was unfair for MyTeksi to allow the operation of GrabCar.

“We have been promoting MyTeksi and have been urging passengers to use the app to get a taxi, and now this is how they (MyTeksi) repay us.”

A memorandum was submitted and received by MyTeksi marketing manager Vincent Tan.

Kamarudin also said that if the terms of the memorandum were not agreeable, a bigger protest will take place, involving several major roads in the city centre.

To date, there are over 91,000 taxi drivers in the Southeast Asian region that have registered with MyTeksi and GrabCar.