Operate as limos and charge more, alternative taxi services told

Big Blue Taxi Services founder and advisor Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail. — File pic
Big Blue Taxi Services founder and advisor Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — A taxi service operator today said that it would welcome operators such as Uber, GrabCar and MyTeksi only if they impose a higher rate than budget cabs and used a limousine permit.

In a press conference here, Big Blue Taxi Services founder and advisor Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail welcomed a recent statement by the Transport Ministry that it is studying possible regulations for ride-sharing services Uber and GrabCar but questioned the effectiveness of the said solution.

“I want to ask the government now, how do you want to regulate (Uber, Grabcar and MyTeksi) in terms of the rate? Because if the rate is much, much cheaper than budget taxis which starts at RM4 and RM2, it means that the government and the ministry themselves are killing the industry.

“What permit do you want to give them? Is it hire and drive or limousine? It cannot be the same permit like a budget taxi...if that is so, the taxi industry will become worst,” he told reporters.

Shamsubahrin also urged Putrajaya to first regulate the taxi industry before legalising Uber, GrabCar and MyTeksi operators.

“If they are regulated well and impose a higher rate, then I welcome them and none of the taxi services should be complaining.

“The rates must be higher and they must be registered as limousines. If you want to do sharing, it's your problem, but it must be above than taxis,” he added saying if these conditions are met, then it would help it create a more healthy competition and make the transportation industry more competitive.

Taxi drivers and firms have complained that Uber and GrabCar vehicles are competing unfairly as they do not face the same legal requirements as the former groups.

They have also accused the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) of failing to act against the two services that they insist are illegal.

The acrimony has resulted in sometimes violent altercations involving irate taxi drivers and those from the two ride-sharing services.

Uber and GrabCar are competing firms that operate ride-sharing services in which private vehicle owners may offer transport services for hire without the permits and licences needed to operate a commercial taxi.

GrabCar is a new service offering on the MyTeksi mobile application.

Shamsubahrin said that he has also submitted an application seeking for an injunction from the Kuala Lumpur High Court, against the said private hire companies from operating at areas “designated” for cabbies only.

He said that he's justification in seeking for the injunction order is because of "trespassing" and “illegal activities” by Uber, GrabCar and MyTeksi.

“One of the conditions fixed by property owners such as shopping malls, who engage us to pick up customers is that we have to ensure that all our vehicles must be Puspakom certified, have valid road tax and permits approved by the government as well as insurance with comprehensive liability coverage and that the cars must be in good condition. If it's a metered taxi, then the rate must be displayed clearly and not tampered,” he said, adding that private hire companies however do not possess proper insurance coverage nor permits for commercial purpose.

Shamsubahrin said that he has no qualms about Uber and GrabCar divers operating in the same area as cabbies, but insists that they must prove their legality.

“We welcome everybody to come and pick passengers anywhere, but they have to come operating their services in a legal manner for the benefit of the public,” he added.

Shamsubahrin said that case management for his injunction order application is set for January 11 next month at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

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