Grab warns of possible increase in fares with new regulations in Malaysia

PHOTO: The New Paper

PETALING JAYA: With the possibility of fewer drivers on the road because of new regulations by the government, users may experience an increase in "dynamic" fares, says ride-hailing company Grab.

"As commuters ourselves, we understand the pain passengers feel when fares are higher," the company said in a statement on their website.

They also said passenger should anticipate longer waiting time for a ride.

Their advice was for passengers to book their rides earlier, especially when catching a flight or going to an important meeting.

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Passengers were also advised that getting a ride would be much easier outside the peak hours of 7am-9am and 5pm-8pm.

They said the new e-hailing regulations would only affect private car ride-hailing services, such as GrabCar, JustGrab, GrabCar Plus, GrabCar (Premium).

Taxi services on Grab would not be impacted.

The company said while the intention to implement e-hailing regulations was announced last year, the actual process only started in April 2019.

"Leading up to regulatory implementation on July 12, 2019, we have been working closely with the Ministry of Transport, JPJ, APAD and Puspakom to improve the efficiency of the process, and to help our drivers with the costs," they said.

The government set July 12 for all e-hailing drivers to apply for a PSV licence, which is required for taxi drivers.

Drivers have to undergo a six-hour training session at driving centres and pay up to RM200 (S$66) for the PSV licence.

On top of that, they must get initial and annual vehicle checks at Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centres (Puspakom), pass criminal background and medical checks, contribute to Socso, purchase a eHailing add-on car insurance and equip their cars with safety equipment including fire extinguishers.

The estimated cost to complete the requirements is RM800.

With the number of drivers significantly reduced on the road following this measure, the Malaysian E-hailing Drivers Association (MeHDA) predicted that fares would up as much as 50 per cent - depending on factors such as demand and supply, as well as the timing of the rides.