KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — About 30,000 taxis have been abandoned around the country as their drivers were allegedly driven out of business after the emergence of e-hailing services, local daily Utusan Malaysia reported today.

The Malay daily also claimed that while there were around 120,000 taxis in operation before the e-hailing system emerged, this has now dropped to just around 40,000.

The paper did not cite the source of the statistics, but quoted a taxi drivers’ group called Gabungan Teksi Malaysia (GTSM) saying that this was due to the gulf in fares offered by taxis and e-hailing services.

Its chairman Kamarudin Hussain said this had driven consumers towards the cheaper e-hailing service, and subsequently blamed the government for this matter.

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“When the government doesn’t control the rate of service for e-hailing, it will cause problems for taxi drivers. E-hailing companies are racing with each other to get customers until they compromise the fares. When that happens, the rates will become very cheap.

“So, certainly customers will use e-hailing and no passengers want to ride taxis,” he was quoted as saying.

Kamarudin also alluded that the low fares provided by e-hailing applications are also taking a toll on e-hailing drivers.

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“This situation victimises e-hailing drivers because it also affects their pay and income that they obtain every day,” he told the local daily.

Utusan Malaysia also claimed that 80,000 drivers have stopped operating their taxis and have chosen another line of work due to insufficient income.

“The government can set a floor price for e-hailing services, and it can be adjusted parallel to taxi services. As how the government adjusted the taxi fares years ago, the same can be done to the e-hailing industry.”

“If this can be implemented, I am certain all citizens that in the transport industry can ‘find food’ fairly and harmoniously,” he reportedly said.

The government doesn’t need to enact new laws to solve the problem, Kamarudin said.

“If the amendment to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 that was passed in April last year can be enforced, I think it could solve this problem because the Act has the power to stop the reduction of fares by the e-hailing companies,” he said.

Last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government would study the proposal to uplift the ecosystem of the taxi industry to ensure the welfare and well-being of the taxi drivers following a meeting with GTSM.