Stakeholders: Ending monopoly will save time and travel costs

PETALING JAYA: The decision to liberalise vehicle inspection services will help commercial vehicle operators such as bus, taxi and freight companies save time and travel costs, say various transport industry stakeholders.

However, they added that stringent standards must be maintained in order to ensure that public safety was upheld.

Following yesterday’s announcement by the Transport Minister that Puspakom would no longer be the sole provider of vehicle inspection services beginning Sept 1, 2024, the government has decided to open up this area to other qualified parties.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said that the lack of a vehicle inspection services centre had caused the operators from the small towns to travel further, inconveniencing them.

“Drivers from the smaller towns are forced to travel a distance to inspection centres to have their vehicles checked, and they have to return a second time when something is found to be non-compliant.

“When a test can’t be completed in one day, it is a massive waste of time. There is always congestion at the inspection centres, which is again costing us a lot of time,” he added.

Mohamad Ashfar said that the “slow pace” at inspection centres also hampered their businesses, especially during festive seasons when bus operators needed to increase the frequency of services.

However, he suggested the government impose stringent guidelines when allowing more parties to enter the vehicle inspection business.

“We do not want fake vehicle inspection certificates that endanger public safety.

“All procedures must have checks and balances mechanisms.

“The government can adhere to the United Kingdom’s vehicle inspection system,” he said.

PMBOA has 120 members and over 3,000 buses nationwide.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Taxi and Car Rental Operators Association president Siti Faradilah Aslah said Puspakom’s online service had been satisfactory and highly efficient in recent years.

“However, due to a lack of inspection centres, some taxi drivers have had to wait for extended periods, with the inspection time (for each taxi) being about 30 minutes, while larger vehicles, such as lorries and buses, take longer.

“Drivers must travel to the inspection centre to wait in line with the larger vehicles, which takes up an entire day,” she added.

Ehailing Drivers Association (Mehda) president Daryl Chong also welcomed the government’s decision to break up the monopoly.

“This could lead to greater competition and ultimately result in better services and lower prices for ehailing drivers.

“In the absence of a monopoly, businesses would be incentivised to provide more efficient and effective services in order to attract customers.

“This could also lead to quicker and more streamlined inspection processes, allowing drivers to return to the road faster,” he added.

Chong said competition among companies could also lead to increased innovation, with companies developing better ways of providing vehicle inspection services.

“This could lead to the development of new technologies and methods that could improve the safety and efficiency of ehailing vehicles,” he added.

Gabungan Pertubuhan Teksi, Kereta Sewa, Limosin dan Teksi Lapangan Terbang SeMalaysia (GTSM) president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain said the government’s decision would benefit millions of service providers and public transportation users in the country.

“We had no choice previously and had to put up with the antics and inclinations of some Puspakom vehicle testers.

“This is in addition to having to wait so long for a vehicle inspection, even after making a reservation,” he said.

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