KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Dego Ride said today Putrajaya has yet to convey a decision on whether or not the locally-groomed two-wheeled e-hailing service provider could operate legitimately, nearly two years since regulators greenlit the firm to conduct a trial run.
Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj, its chief executive officer, said there has been a surge in demand for a motorcycle-based ride-hailing service in light of worsening car road traffic in the capital city and Selangor, but the company has struggled to find riders to join because they fear working for Dego Ride could be illegal.
"As of April 2022, since the restrictions started loosening up, we saw traffic becoming worse and we saw there is an increase in demand for our service," he said at a press conference held with Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil here.
"Today we have been struggling to cope with demand...we need more riders to support us but the issue is that the riders were afraid to join us...they were sceptical if we are allowed or not allowed [to operate]," he added.
Founded in 2016, Dego Ride was once touted as the best first mile-last mile solution to Klang Valley's patchy public transport system.
Dego Ride currently has some 500 riders on the road, which the company said is insufficient to service densely populated areas in the Klang Valley like Lembah Pantai where demands for connectivity to the nearby rail systems are high.
Traffic congestion in the Klang Valley appeared to have worsened in the last few months as the government began lifting Covid-19 curbs and life returned to normal, prompting public uproar.
Data from the Tomtom Traffic Index released in May showed congestion at peak hours in the morning and evenings in the capital has been consistently worse in the first seven days of that month compared to the same period in 2019.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong pledged in May to find solutions but stopped short of suggesting how after lawmakers raised the matter in Parliament. Political analysts have suggested solving traffic congestion within the Klang could be a key election issue in the 15th general election.
By using a more agile vehicle like the moped which could manoeuvre through heavy congestion easily, Nabil said he believes Dego Ride could be part of that solution.
"The fact that there is a huge demand by the public to have the solution from the first to the last mile, bringing them to their home to places like public transit stations to get to their workplace," he said.
Lawmakers were previously divided about letting motorcycles ferry people over safety concerns, which led to a ban after the authorities cited the high rate of accidents involving two-wheeled vehicles in the past.
But Nabil said its own data from the trial run showed Dego Ride's operation is safe, with zero fatalities reported since itstarted operating in 2016.
Fahmi, who is supportive of the idea behind Dego Ride, suggested that policymakers conduct more engagement to fine-tune regulations that would make motorcycle ride-hailing safe instead of dismissing them outright.
"If you already have that type of mobility, why not look at ways to legalise [it] and also generate tax [revenue]. I think if it's done the right way it can help many people," he said.
"It's particularly applicable at these densely populated areas where there will be a high volume of traffic at peak hours for people to travel to transit hubs. So I hope the services by Dego Ride or any type of similar public transit service provider will be welcomed by the government and lawmakers," the MP added.