Win passengers over, don’t antagonise them, says SPAD


PETALING JAYA: Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Syed Hamid Albar says taxi bosses should win passengers over instead of antagonising them with negative remarks.

He said many passengers were now hailing taxis after realising it was cheaper to use them during peak hours.

“Uber and Grab have ‘surge charges’ which can be very expensive during peak hours.

“They (passengers) are turning to taxis. They (taxi companies) should make use of that,” he told FMT.

E-hailing passengers pay more when demand for rides is high. When passengers are online, the app displays areas with high demand in shades of red. The deeper the shade, the greater the area’s demand.

Syed Hamid was asked to respond to Big Blue Taxi Services founder Shamsubahrin Ismail, who urged SPAD to impose fines on e-hailing passengers to discourage them from using the services.

Shamsubahrin’s outburst today is the latest in his long tirade against the two ride-sharing companies.

He had previously labelled Grab and Uber drivers as “illegal taxi drivers” and last year claimed that the ride-sharing services would “kill” the taxi industry.

In April 2016, he also claimed that the two operators were running what he deemed to be a money-laundering scheme and urged Bank Negara Malaysia to investigate the firms under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

However, Syed Hamid said there were no laws to stop passengers from using the services offered by Grab and Uber.

“How can we restrict them from using the ride-sharing system? How to keep tabs on who is using the services? How to keep tabs on who downloads the app?”

Furthermore, he said the government had tabled proposed amendments to the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987, aimed at legalising the e-hailing services.

The bill classifies an e-hailing vehicle as a public service vehicle that is subject to an intermediation business licence. Under the bill, Uber and Grab drivers have to apply for business licences.

The vehicle, with a seating capacity of four to 11 persons (including the driver), is to be “used for the carriage of persons on any journey in consideration of a single or separate fare for each of them”, with the fares facilitated through an electronic mobile application provided by an intermediate business.