Govt to ensure e-hailing fares stay reasonable

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook (centre, back with red tie) posing for a picture with disabled e-hailing drivers who obtained their PSV licences at the Grab office today. Loke says his ministry will monitor the fare rates of e-hailing service so they stay reasonable.

PETALING JAYA: The government has given an assurance it will take measures to ensure e-hailing service fares are “reasonable” after the July 12 deadline for drivers to take the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) e-hailing theory licensing test.

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook said his ministry would work closely with e-hailing operators (eHO) and the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) so the service could continue and the price would not go up.

He was commenting on reports quoting several e-hailing companies that passengers may have to pay more and wait longer after July 12.

Malaysia E-hailing Drivers Association (Mehda) president Daryl Chong, for instance, was quoted by The Star as saying this was because there would be fewer drivers as many part-timers were opting out due to the PSV licence requirement.

“This is all speculation. We haven’t reached the stage of regulating fares but, of course, we are looking at the various developments in other countries.

“We will formulate our policy and make necessary changes from time to time,” Loke said at a press conference after handing over PSV licences to disabled e-hailing drivers today at the Grab office.

The government has set July 12 for all e-hailing drivers to apply for a PSV licence, the same licence that taxi drivers are required to have. Each driver has to pay about RM800 to sit for the PSV test and for insurance.

Loke said the government would only monitor the fare rates so that they stay reasonable. However, he said, he would not interfere in the e-hailing market.

“We will continue to be flexible and monitor the progress. We will make the necessary changes from time to time.”

Although some of the e-hailing drivers are not happy with the PSV licence requirement, Loke said the government just wanted to ensure they operated in a legalised environment and were protected by law.

“We are levelling the playing field, where the regulation is almost the same as taxi drivers.

“Taxi drivers have to accept the fact that they have to compete with e-hailing drivers today. It is a fair competition. Both sides have to give better services to the public.

“At the end of the day, it is the passenger who will decide where they want to go and what kind of service they want to use.”