Sunday, July 3, 2022

E-hailing operators can lose licence for overcharging passengers, transport ministry says

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong says the government might have to regulate the e-hailing industry if demands by players persist.

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The licences of e-hailing operators can be revoked or suspended if they violate the allowed surcharge amount which is set at 200% of the base fare, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

He said the Land Public Transport Agency had been ordered to investigate the matter as the surcharge rate was agreed on in 2019.

“Regarding the base fare, the e-hailing operators are charging between 70 sen and 90 sen per km. They are also given the flexibility to impose surcharges according to the rule, based on demand and dynamic pricing,” he said, adding however that the fare should not be more than 200% of the base fare.

Speaking to reporters in Putrajaya yesterday, Wee also said that e-hailing companies should not continue pressing the government with various demands and requests, otherwise the transport ministry would be forced to take action by regulating the e-hailing industry.

“Don’t force me, one day I might have to regulate (the e-hailing industry). I don’t want to go to the extent of disturbing the gig economy, that is why we need to do this harmoniously,” he said.

Wee also criticised the e-hailing operators who claimed that the recent spike in e-hailing fares was due to the RM10,000 special withdrawal scheme of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and lack of drivers, saying these reasons did not make sense.

He added that the allegations by the e-hailing operators that the ministry had not helped the e-hailing industry were very disappointing as the government had made it easier for them to recruit employees.

However, he said, the operators wanted the government to abolish the passenger service vehicle (PSV) licencing for e-hailing drivers.

“Those wanting to work as an e-hailing driver are required to get the PSV… it is a clear policy,” he said, adding that e-hailing operators should not blame the ministry if they could not find drivers to work for them as it had allowed them to conduct the PSV training at their respective companies.

He also urged those who were charged four times more than the normal fare to lodge an official report, saying the ministry would not hesitate to take action if the reports were proved to be true.

He said to date, a total of 28 e-hailing companies were operating in the Klang Valley, which would allow passengers a range of options.

Wee also denied that the transport ministry was siding with the e-hailing operators in this matter as alleged by the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations and the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association.

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