Hike takes toll on food deliveries in Malaysia

Hike takes toll on food deliveries in Malaysia
Sitting duck: Adel Muhamed is trying to find alternative, toll-free routes due to the rising cost of highway tolls.
PHOTO: The Star

PETALING JAYA: Small business owners are trying their best to absorb the higher operating costs brought by the hike in toll rates but some will have to pass it on to the consumers.

Allison Xavier, 32, owner of the Rebellious Chickpea food delivery service, said the new rates were “ridiculous”.

“I pay an additional RM10 (S$3) a day on top of the usual RM16 for toll now, more if we have deliveries to Klang and Shah Alam.

“Our customers are scattered around KL and PJ, so we usually use the Penchala and Kerinchi Link, Duke and Sprint to get around,” she said.

With an average of 30 deliveries per day, Xavier’s business will have to fork out an average of RM572 monthly just for toll.

“It will definitely take a toll on us,” she said.

“We can’t avoid highways because it’s faster and our priority is quick delivery, especially with KL traffic.”

She said her service would have no choice but to charge for delivery, which was previously free.

Adel Muhamed Ishak, 27, who runs the Little Fat Duck food truck, was not sure how badly his business would be affected.

Based in Subang, he said travelling to Kuala Lumpur every day through the NPE now costs him an additional RM42 month.

“We can’t transfer the cost to our customers by increasing our prices.

“Sales dropped tremendously when we had to include GST previously.

“The public won’t accept that for a second time.

“For now, the only thing we can do is to find alternative, toll-free routes,” said Adel.

Saari Nordin, 32, who runs The Boys Food food truck mostly stationed in Dataran Wangsa, expects RM20 a week to be eaten from its profit margin.

“We only pass through the toll during the weekends when we drive to KL for events.

“We earn about RM500 a day, so RM20 does not affect us too much,” said Saari.

“We definitely won’t be passing this cost on to our customers!”

Elaine Ho, 33 who runs the Chopstick Diner delivery service, said she was able to avoid the repercussions of the toll hike.

“Our delivery boys goes around by motorcycles.

“It’s much cheaper that way, and we avoid rush hour traffic as well,” she said.

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