E-hailing drivers want review on fares, operating costs

PUTRAJAYA, 13 July 2019: 

The Malaysian organisation representing electronic applications-based drivers (PPBAEM) today called on the Transport Ministry to establish a ‘discussion lab’ involving relevant parties, with the aim of formulating an e-hailing fare mechanism.

Chairman Catherine Yee Kar Tin said in a statement the formulation of such a mechanism should take into account all costs related to e-hailing services – and this included investment costs (vehicles and smartphones), operational costs (fuel, maintenance, communications), regulatory costs (related to Public Service Vehicle licences, vehicle inspections and insurance), and employee costs such as Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions.

Another factor to be taken into account is the travel time affected by traffic congestion – with this resulting in higher cost borne by drivers who for the same reason, do not like operating during peak periods and when traffic is congested.

Yee urged regulators to devise a fare mechanism – which was in line with the actual cost of services provided – so that such a mechanism would not serve as an obstruction to the provision of quality e-hailing services, which she noted were not subsidised.

She also said arrangements could be made to ensure that drivers received necessary social protections in the form of insurance, SOCSO and EPF paid through daily premiums and contributions.

Yee added that the fact that there were in existence 31 e-hailing operators who had been issued the Business Mediation Licence (LPP) by the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD), was also an important fact which should be taken into account in the determination of fares.

Meanwhile, Sabah Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) has issued a directive that e-hailing drivers, except those with e-hailing stickers on their vehicles, are no longer allowed to solicit for passengers at the airports in Sabah and Labuan, effective July 12.

Sabah CVLB has limited e-hailing operations at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to the designated ‘no-charge’ waiting area at Terminal 2; passenger pick-up can only be done at Gate 5 of the domestic arrival hall and drop off, at the tail end of the departure hall of KKIA.

A copy of CVLB’s directive in a letter dated July 8 shared by Labuan Taxi Owners Association also stated that e-hailing drivers are liable to a fine, should they flout the special conditions in the public service vehicle (PSV) licence as stated in the e-Vehicle Permit.

Meanwhile, Labuan Airport manager Amat Madin said they had yet to discuss with the Road Transport Department (RTD) and Sabah CVLB on the designated pick-up and drop off areas for e-hailing drivers here.

“We will certainly give our cooperation in providing designated areas for e-hailing drivers.”

Under changes enforced by the Transport Ministry, e-hailing service vehicles must have a PSV licence, passenger insurance, e-hailing sticker and e-hailing vehicle permit.

Grab Malaysia, which claimed it has about 200,000 drivers, revealed on Tuesday that only 10% of their active drivers had obtained the PSV licence.

Sabah RTD director Sadim Abdul was reported to have said those who failed to comply with this new rule could be served with a summons ranging from RM150 to RM300.

He added that only three e-hailing operators were currently recognised by Sabah CVLB, namely Grab, MyCar and Borride.

Drivers operating through these three e-hailing services must obtain a PSV licence and display the e-hailing stickers on their cars.

“They are not allowed to pick up passengers from KKIA if they fail to display these stickers, and will be issued a summons (within the issuing authority’s discretion),” Sadim told reporters during a press conference at KKIA.

He gave his assurance that a sufficient number of RTD officers would be stationed at the airport to enforce the law, in addition to those provided by KKIA.

In this regard, e-hailing drivers are required to comply with one of the e-hailing terms of service that the driver can only pick up passengers who have subscribed to their services via online mobile (devices) or applications which is provided by the operating company.

– Bernama