E-hailing firms advise passengers to prepare for new rules

  • Nation
  • Friday, 12 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: Plan your journeys, make bookings earlier and ride during off-peak hours – this is the advice given to passengers by e-hailing operators with new rules to be enforced today.

The operators expect fewer e-hailing drivers on the road from today, and said passengers have been given “notice” in order not to be caught unprepared.

Grab Malaysia has despatched announcements to their passengers warning them of longer waiting times, especially during peak hours and rainy days.

The company, the biggest e-hailing operator in the country, said its driver-partners served a million ride bookings daily.

It said the average waiting time for a passenger to get a ride was within six minutes.

“Unfortunately, this may change after July 12 as we anticipate a reduction of driver-partners active on the roads.

“We advise passengers to pre-plan their travel by making earlier bookings, especially if they have a flight to catch or need to attend an important event,” said a Grab spokesperson.

Under changes enforced by the Transport Ministry, e-hailing service vehicles must have a public service vehicle (PSV) licence, passenger insurance, e-hailing sticker and e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP) from the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).

There was much hoo-ha after the PSV application process began in April, with drivers, mainly part-timers, complaining that it was a costly and cumbersome exercise.

It was reported that a reduced number of drivers will be on the road when the deadline arrived as many part-time drivers preferred to opt out. There are also many others who are yet to be PSV-ready.

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

“We hope that this imbalance in supply and demand will be transient,” said the spokesperson.

MyCar founder and director Mohd Noah Maideen said the company had been blasting mass notifications to their app users since yesterday, alerting them of longer waits and possibly steeper fares.

Citing the low number of drivers who were PSV-compliant, he said the firm had no choice but to temporarily suspend other drivers from operating until they completed the due diligence.

“From our pool of 30,000 active drivers, about 10,000 are full-timers and roughly 7,000 of them drive exclusively for MyCar.

“From this number, only 400 have got their PSV licence, and this is worrying. We have to abide by the law and I have no choice but to block those who are not ready from getting on the road,” he added.

MyCar is the second largest e-hailing operator, holding about 15% of industry market share.

Mohd Noah urged the authorities to be lenient on enforcement, saying that many drivers were still going through the process to be PSV ready.

“Getting the PSV licence is one thing. The drivers will still not be allowed on the road until APAD issues them with the EVP document, which takes time.

“Should they get stopped during checks, I hope the authorities will give them a warning instead of booking them,” he said, adding that the grace period should be extended till the end of the year.

Mohd Noah said the firm was continuing to get cabbies to join its platform in anticipation of a driver shortage.

He said passengers should be ready to see taxis picking them up instead of private cars.

Malaysian E-hailing Drivers Association (MeHDA) president Daryl Chong said according to feedback, it took too long for the PSV results to be released and for EVP permits to be issued.

“But until everything is in place, they still have to adhere to the law,” he said, adding that e-hailing companies had been instructed to ban their non-compliant drivers.

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