E-hailing drivers granted three-month grace period to comply with new regulations

Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks to reporters during a press conference in Putrajaya July 12, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks to reporters during a press conference in Putrajaya July 12, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — Transport Minister Anthony Loke today announced a three-month deadline extension for e-hailing drivers to comply with new regulations set for the industry.

Loke make the announcement in a press conference today, after the weekly Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya.

“The Cabinet members today decided that enforcement of rules for the e-hailing service providers which begins today, will be executed via a soft-landing approach.

“This means that all e-hailing service drivers who are yet to comply with the set rules by the government, are allowed to continue their operations for three months beginning today,” Loke said.

He said that the ministry and the Road Transport Department (RTD) will also enforce the new regulations by educating e-hailing drivers.

Loke said the extension was granted as many drivers were still in the midst of settling their documentation to comply with the new regulations.

“This is why I’ve always said — and we expected this— don’t do things at the last minute.

“This one week alone, thousands went to take the PSV course. That process is still ongoing, and we don’t want any more disruption to the passengers and all. Many parties also shared their views on this, asking to give more time before the full enforcement kicks in,” he said, when asked as to why the government decided to grant the three-month extension.

PSV refers to the public service vehicle permit which is now mandatory for e-hailing drivers, in a bid to provide an equal competing platform for taxi and e-hailing drivers.

Cabbies are required to hold the PSV permit before being allowed to drive taxis, while e-hailing drivers are additionally required to obtain the e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP).

In the press conference, Loke said that 31 e-hailing operators have registered their businesses to obtain the intermediation business license from the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad).

He said that 17,596 EVPs have been issues to date, and 31,731 candidates have registered to sit for their PSV courses and licensing exams at 226 driving schools nationwide.

Of this, 25,248 have completed their PSV courses, while 19,891 passed the PSV licensing exam.

“Additionally, 16,528 candidates had attended the PSV course organised by the EHOs, themselves. Of this number, 3,090 candidates passed the PSV licensing exam,” Loke said, adding that there are currently 22,981 people who have passed the said exam.

Last year, Loke announced that Grab and other e-hailing drivers will be regulated under the same licensing conditions as taxi drivers beginning today.

He also announced a slew of new regulations that he said will even the playing field for taxi and e-hailing drivers.

Like taxi drivers, e-hailing drivers will be required to undergo regular car inspections, health inspections and renew their driver’s card annually.

All the new regulations will take effect on July 12, with a one-year moratorium given to drivers and companies to comply with them beginning July 12 last year.

Putrajaya will also impose a new commission cap for e-hailing firms, Loke said.

As a result, firms are not allowed to collect more than 10 per cent commission from taxi drivers using their platform, and not more than 20 per cent commission from other drivers.

To protect drivers, all firms are required to set up a mechanism for their drivers to file complaints.

Taxi drivers who wish to join e-hailing platforms will be given a RM 5,000 incentive by the government to purchase new vehicles. The same incentive will also be given to cabbies whose lease permits with taxi companies have ended and now wish to buy their own individual vehicles.

The regulation changes will be brought under the Land Public Transport Act (Amendment 2017), Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board Act (Amendment 2017).

Both amendments were brought about in 2016 by the previous government to require e-hailing firms to be licensed by the government.

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