E-hailing firms advise passengers to prepare for new rules

PETALING JAYA: E-hailing operators had started giving advice to the passengers due to the new rules to be enforced today. Plan your journeys, make bookings earlier and ride during off-peak hours – this is the advice given.

Fewer e-hailing drivers will be expected on the road from today and the operators claimed that they’ve given the passengers a “notice” in order not to be caught unprepared.

Longer waiting times especially during peak hours and rainy days – a warning that was given to the passengers by Grab Malaysia.

The average waiting time for a passenger is within six minutes however, this may change after July 12. What used to be six minutes may take longer due to anticipation of reduction of drive-partners active on the roads.

 “We advise passengers to pre-plan their travel by making earlier bookings, especially if they have a flight to catch or need to attend an important event,” said a Grab spokesperson.

The Transport Ministry enforced this changes: e-hailing service vehicles must have a public service vehicle (PSV) licence, passenger insurance, e-hailing sticker and e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP) from the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).

Number of complaints were recorded after the PSV application process began in April due to costly and cumbersome exercise.

It is expected that there will be reduced number of drivers active on the road when the deadline arrived as many part-time drivers preferred to opt out. There are also many others who are yet to be PSV-ready.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Grab, the biggest e-hailing operator in the country has about 200,000 drivers but only 10% of their active drivers had obtained the PSV licence.

Meanwhile, MyCar founder and director Mohd Noah Maideen said that the company had been blasting mass notifications to their app users since yesterday, alerting them of longer waits and possibly steeper fares.

He said that the firm had no choice but to temporarily suspend other drivers from operating until they comply to the PSV-licence requirements.

 “From our pool of 30,000 active drivers, about 10,000 are full-timers and roughly 7,000 of them drive exclusively for MyCar.

“From this number, only 400 have got their PSV licence, and this is worrying. We have to abide by the law and I have no choice but to block those who are not ready from getting on the road,” he added.

MyCar is the second largest e-hailing operator, holding about 15% of industry market share.

He urged the authorities to be lenient on enforcement because many drivers were still going through the process to be PSV ready.

 “Getting the PSV licence is one thing. The drivers will still not be allowed on the road until APAD issues them with the EVP document, which takes time.

“Should they get stopped during checks, I hope the authorities will give them a warning instead of booking them,” he said, adding that the grace period should be extended till the end of the year.

However, Mohd Noad noted that the firm will continue to get cabbies to join its platform in anticipation of a driver shortage.

In this case, the passengers should be ready to see taxis picking them up instead of private cars.

On the other hand, Malaysian E-hailing Drivers Association (MeHDA) president Daryl Chong said that according to the feedback, it took too long for the PSV results to be released and for EVP permits to be issued.  “But until everything is in place, they still have to adhere to the law,” he said, adding that e-hailing companies had been instructed to ban their non-compliant drivers..

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