Ehailing drivers floored by ‘unreasonable’ fares

PETALING JAYA: The government’s decision to not set a floor price for ehailing fares could lead to companies taking advantage of their charges and eventually affecting the welfare of gig workers, say ehailing groups.

Malaysian E-Hailing Association chief activist Jose Rizal said he was concerned that ehailing companies might abuse travel fares to attract more customers at the expense of gig workers’ income.

“If there is no floor price, companies which are in competition with each other may be tempted to reduce their fares to attract more customers,” he said when contacted yesterday.

ALSO READ: No price control plans for ehailing services, says Loke

On Tuesday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke told the Dewan Rakyat that there were no immediate plans to set a floor price for each ehailing ride or to regulate these fares.

He said any proposal to set the ehailing floor price would be a complicated process, adding that it might lead to an increase in fares for users.

However, Jose said many ehailing riders were dissatisfied with the “unreasonable” rates set by companies as this had led to big losses for them.

Currently, drivers earn between 50sen and 70sen per km, or 25sen to 35sen per minute.

ALSO READ: No immediate plans to regulate e-hailing fares, including setting floor price per trip, says Loke

Jose also claimed that the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) did not have a proper system to regulate fares in ehailing apps.

As such, he suggested the Communications and Digital Ministry might be the better authority to handle this issue.

Malaysian P-Hailing Riders Association (Penghantar) president Zulhelmi Mansor urged the government to introduce a floor price so that companies won’t be able to manipulate fares for their own gains.

“The ministry should not only prioritise the welfare of p-hailing customers but also the drivers involved,” he said.

Zulhelmi added that it was the right time to introduce a floor price amid the rising cost of living in the country.

Grab Drivers Malaysia Association Arif Asyraf Ali suggested that the ministry fix the floor price at a minimum of RM1.10 to RM1.30 per km and 45sen to 65sen per minute for both peak and non-peak hours.

“This will not only ease the burden of drivers but also provide a good balance for the company between costs and profit,” he added.

Arif disagreed with Loke’s view that setting a floor price could increase travel fares.

The rates, he said, won’t be higher than the charges in 2015.

“For example, KLIA fares had a flat rate of RM90 in 2015, but drivers now only receive a flat rate of RM65 onwards,” he said.

“Fares have dropped due to price wars among ehailing companies and a floor price will help retain the rates from 2015,” he added.

Grab driver Daniel Wong suggested fares be time-based instead of distance.

This would enable customers to be charged more accurately especially during traffic jams and peak hours.

“Ehailing fares can sometimes be excessively low because the customer’s destination is near,” he said.

Furthermore, he said fares did not take into account heavy traffic jams along the way which could be burdensome for drivers.

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