Uber and GrabCar services illegal, says SPAD

SPAD is urging the public to buy bus tickets for Hari Raya direct from the companies and not from agents and unauthorised sellers. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
SPAD is urging the public to buy bus tickets for Hari Raya direct from the companies and not from agents and unauthorised sellers. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) acknowledges that Uber and GrabCar are legal as “service matching” businesses, but the manner they operate is not.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said yesterday although the commission was unable to take any legal action against Uber and GrabCar, it was carrying out enforcement on unlicensed vehicles and drivers.

“Both Uber and GrabCar use unlicensed vehicles to ferry passengers and these vehicles are deemed illegal,” he said at the launching of SPAD’s new mobile operation vehicles at the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)

“They are both the same. It does not matter if they are local or foreign.”

Syed Hamid also said MyTeksi was legal because it used licensed taxis.

“We have no problem with people creating new systems to improve the business,” he said.

“We have explained this to the taxi associations as well, and they have given us their full cooperation.

“However, they must not forget that we do not regulate the business itself.”

Forty-six GrabCar vehicles have been towed away during enforcement operations by SPAD.

Syed Hamid said the main problem with Uber was that they tried to replace local legitimate taxis.

“They are denying the ordinary taxi drivers from earning an income,” he said.

“They cause the local taxi industry to suffer in many other countries as well, which is why they are in trouble.”

He said several private vehicles had been towed for being a part of the Uber and GrabCar services.

“Even university students have come to me to ask for help to get their cars back after being towed,” he said.

“I cannot do that because I do not have the power to release the cars once they are towed away.

“If an accident happens, the driver will be held responsible. Even the insurance company can deny liability because the insurance does not cover ferrying passengers.”

SPAD’s new mobile operation vehicles come equipped with workstations, car video recorder, closed-circuit television (CCTV) recorder, night vision cameras, internet connectivity and motorised awning for enforcement activities.

“We are quite happy because we will be able to conduct investigations in and around the van,” Syed Hamid said.

“I think it is quite efficient. We will see how this works and if it is good, then we will request for more.”

The two vehicle units will be stationed in the Klang Valley.

Syed Hamid also urged the public to buy bus tickets for Hari Raya direct from the companies.

“Please refrain from purchasing tickets from agents or other unauthorised sellers,” he said.

“We will take stern action against anyone caught selling counterfeit tickets.” 

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