No ride, price surge? Mere tactics by e-hailing companies against Putrajaya, says minister

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 has alleged that e-hailing companies are to blame for any difficulties faced by customers in getting a ride today, or if they are forced to pay a higher rate.

In a press conference Loke said that some companies are merely trying their best to force the government to go back on the implementation of new regulations for the e-hailing service sector.

“We know there are some companies which employ all sorts of tactics. All these is just to try and push the government to a corner, and to try and force the government to retract and U-turn on our regulations,” he told reporters.

“We know that these are all strategies employed by certain companies. We know that, but as I said, I have made this announcement today, the Cabinet has deliberated on this issue, and we have made these announcements.

“We have made this decision. So there is no reason why these companies have to surge the prices,” Loke said.

He was responding to a question on the complaints by many users on the delay in getting an e-hailing ride and the price surge today, which is the deadline for e-hailing drivers to obtain their e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP).

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.

This means, like taxi drivers, e-hailing drivers will also need to go through 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, and 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.