SPAD nabs GrabCar driver after cabbies set up trap during protest

Taxi drivers surround a GrabCar driver outside the SPAD headquarters in Kelana Jaya, September 30, 2015. — Picture by Kamles Kumar
Taxi drivers surround a GrabCar driver outside the SPAD headquarters in Kelana Jaya, September 30, 2015. — Picture by Kamles Kumar

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KELANA JAYA, Sept 30 — A group of taxi drivers protesting the continued operations of private hire vehicle companies managed to get the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to arrest a GrabCar driver today after they lured him to their gathering outside the agency’s office in Kelana Jaya.

During the protest, one of the taxi drivers, Jay Rohezan, hired a car to SPAD’s office using the GrabCar service to prove that the firm’s drivers are still operating illegally without licenses.

“I just booked this guy to see if he comes to SPAD headquarters or not. See these private hire vehicles, they are so daring already,” he told reporters. 

SPAD had in July said that although Uber and GrabCar are legal as “service matching” businesses, the manner they operate is not.

The commission has since been carrying out enforcement on all unlicensed vehicles and drivers attached to the firms, and slapping them with compounds for operating illegally.

Today, when the GrabCar driver arrived in a grey Nissan Almera, he was ambushed by the over 30 taxi drivers who had turned up for the protest.

Police and building security officials managed to break up the crowd later and two SPAD officers then announced that they would arrest the driver and take action.

It is not known, however, the actual reason for the arrest.

The SPAD officers later took over from the driver and drove off in his car with the man in the backseat.

“They told us that they are going to bring him to the depot or main headquarters and process him. Hopefully, they take a stern action,” Jay explained, without offering details on why the GrabCar driver was arrested.

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.

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

A group of approximately 100 taxi drivers protested earlier today at the SPAD headquarters demanding the suspension of the transport-hire mobile applications like Uber and GrabCar, which they claimed have been affecting their livelihood.

The demands made by the taxi drivers include exemption of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on taxi related products, reducing the NGV price as well as giving individual permits to drivers. 

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