Joint Media Statement by DAP Bukit Gasing State Assmeblyman, Rajiv Rishyakaran (Selangor) and DAP Senai State Assemblywoman, Wong Shu Qi (Johor) on 21st November 2015 (Saturday):
SPAD must face up to the Uber-Taxi issue
SPAD chairman Syed Hamid cannot continue to just sweep under the carpet the uber-taxi issue, which is week by week heating up. It is time that SPAD puts an end to the inconsistent enforcement towards taxi-alternative services, namely Uber and Grabcar1.
Inconsistently enforcing Section 16(1) of the Land Public Transport Act 2010, (no person shall operate or provide a public service vehicle service using a class of public service vehicle unless he holds an operator’s licence) to only confiscate some cars, some times, is extremely unfair, and not what any just government should do.
In the interest of delivering the best possible public transport services to the general public, SPAD needs to step up and take the necessary steps that is already permitted under law to issue licenses and thus legalize Uber and Grabcar.
However, in doing so, SPAD MUST accompany this move with providing justice to the taxi drivers that have been suffering from the “unfair competition” of late, with the following moves:
1) SPAD or Parliament should break all the contracts taxi drivers have with their respective rental companies, which can range from 5-7 years. This would enable drivers to move around, if companies don’t treat them well, and also easily switch to uber, grabcar and other options when they so desire, either now or in the future. With the current oppressive contracts, pay an annual rental of around RM193452, while their Uber counterparts have overheads less than half of that. Freeing them from these long term contracts will force this middle man taxi rental companies to adjust their price to a fair and competitive price, lest they lose all their drivers to Uber.
2) SPAD should liberalize the restriction on what models can be used for taxis. Let taxi owners/drivers decide on models. Currently the proton saga which is allowed is the 2nd cheapest one can go on the scale of car options, the only car cheaper is Perodua Viva. This move can address the maintenance complaints taxi drivers have with Proton Exora.3
3) Legalize uber and grabcar, by issuing “private hire vehicle” licenses for these cars. However, these cars must be subjected to the same insurance requirements and inspections as taxis, for a fair playing field. All drivers of uber, grabcar must also obtain the PSV license, which is required of taxi drivers.
4) However, we need to review is the puspakom inspections and PSV licenses, whether this actually add value to passenger safety, or are just red tape that we can do away with.
It is time SPAD wakes up from its slumber and act fairly towards all the drivers in the industry, many of whom are trying to earn an honest living. Besides improving driver welfare from the suggestions above, this moves will create a more reliable network of public transport services for all residents. It will also have a positive impact on the tourism industry, as tourist will have more options for a safer more convenient ride.
Wong Shu Qi