Cabbies cry foul over grace period for e-hailing services

Taxi drivers say the government is practising double standards in allowing e-hailing operators a year to comply with new regulations.

PETALING JAYA: Taxi drivers are voicing unhappiness with the one-year grace period for e-hailing operators to comply with regulations on the legalisation of e-hailing services, with talk of a strike and a protest against the government when Parliament convenes on July 16.

A taxi association chief who wished to remain anonymous said the group was happy with the new rules to level the playing field between cabbies and Grab drivers.

However, he added that many taxi drivers felt the one-year moratorium for e-hailing operators was “too much”.

“Why the double standards? The minister knows we will picket outside Parliament if our demands for a level playing field are not met,” he said.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said all e-hailing services would be subject to the same regulations as taxis, including vehicle inspection and requirements for public service vehicle licences.

He said regulations for e-hailing services would begin today, with a one-year grace period for companies to comply.

The taxi group chief said Loke was only repeating what former prime minister Najib Razak had announced earlier this year.

“At least Najib said the implementation of the new law was immediate, with all e-hailing companies forced to comply with it straight away.

“Why is the government of the day giving multi-billion dollar e-hailing companies another year when they can do it right away?

“We just want the e-hailing drivers to follow the law the same way we are required to.”

The law in question was passed by the previous administration under the Land Public Transport Act (Amendment) 2017 and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board Act (Amendment) 2017, which require e-hailing firms to be licensed by the government.

Other requirements announced yesterday include for e-hailing providers to be formally registered as a company or cooperative in the country.

All vehicles must undergo yearly inspection, have third-party insurance coverage and be rated at least three stars on the Asean NCAP crashworthiness test.

Drivers must also undergo health inspections.

The amount of commission to be passed on to the companies will be capped at 20%, while the rate for taxi drivers using e-hailing applications will be a maximum of 10%. A complaints system for drivers and partners will also be introduced.