Regulate Dego Ride, don’t ban it, says think tank

wan-saiful-degoKUALA LUMPUR: Instead of banning Dego Ride, the government should study how to make the motorcycle ride-sharing service safe for consumers, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has suggested.

IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the government should consider regulation, rather than a ban, as the motorcycle ride-sharing service would benefit low income earners.

It could potentially create additional income for motorcyclists, too, he added in a statement.

He was commenting on a recent directive by the transport ministry to halt the Dego Ride services for safety reasons.

The Road Transport Department warned today that action, including seizure of motorcycles, would be taken against Dego Ride service providers.

Wan Saiful said, “Not too long ago the government tried to ban other ride sharing services such as GrabCar and Uber.

“But after listening to consumers and understanding the internal controls that both companies had regarding safety, it chose to regulate the service instead.

“So why can’t the government skip the banning of Dego and instead study how to make the motorcycle ride-sharing service safe for consumers?”

Wan Saiful suggested the Land Public Transport Commission take measures to ensure the safety of consumers.

In Grab and Uber’s case, he said, drivers had to have a valid licence and their vehicles had to be checked periodically by Puspakom.

“We can also learn from the experience of other Asean countries that have motorcycle taxis in terms of how they manage safety and the types of regulations that they have in place. But we should not stifle innovation nor should we reduce consumer choice.

“Dego Ride could potentially create additional income for motorcyclists, especially those from the lower income group. The number of people with a motorcycle licence in Malaysia is estimated to be over two million.”

He said the service provided options to people who could not afford more expensive forms of public transportation.

“Although, we have buses, the LRT and KTM, we should still allow alternatives for consumers at all levels. In other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines motorcycle taxis are a common alternative to taxis and other forms of public transport.

“They are a lot cheaper which is important for people who cannot afford taxis and they could be extremely convenient in traffic heavy cities of Malaysia. I urge the government to consider regulation rather than banning the service,” Wan Saiful said.