Grab warned today that new e-hailing regulations may result in fewer active driver-partners and cause fares to go up.
Updated: Cabinet has agreed to allow unlicensed e-hailing drivers to operate for another three months from Friday (July 12).
Between 20% to 50% of the 200,000 e-hailing drivers in the country may be driven off the roads as a new public services vehicle (PSV) regulation kicks in.
This means between 40,000 and 100,000 e-hailing cars that regularly take people to work, school or to run errands will not be available, resulting in over a million commuters experiencing greater difficulty in getting rides, apart from having to wait longer.
Cabbies, as well as e-hailing drivers with PSV licences, will have a field day, but whether there are enough of them to cover the shortfall remains to be seen.
One thing is certain – passengers will end up paying more for their daily commute, and roads will likely be more congested now that many will be forced to drive their own cars.
“When there are more people booking than the number of driver-partners available in an area during peak hours, rainy weather, or in more secluded places, prices go up,” Grab said in a statement on its website.
It said depending on the demand, those who are used to waiting for five minutes may now have to wait 10 minutes for their ride.
Grab also said that as commuters themselves, they understand the pain passengers feel when fares rise.
“However, with the possibility of fewer drivers on the road, you may experience an increase in dynamic fares, especially during peak hours and rainy weather,” the statement said.
It said that although the new e-hailing regulations were announced last year, the process of obtaining a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence was only formalised in April.
“Since then, Grab, together with our driver-partners, have been working hard to comply with the regulatory requirements,” it said.
The government had set tomorrow for all e-hailing drivers to apply for a PSV licence, which is also required for taxi drivers.
Drivers have to undergo a six-hour training session at driving centres.
They must get initial and annual vehicle checks at Puspakom centres, pass criminal background and medical checks, contribute to Socso, purchase e-hailing add-on car insurance, and equip their cars with safety gear, including fire extinguishers.
The estimated cost to complete the requirements is RM800.
Grab has advised passengers to book their rides early and said that getting a ride outside of peak hours will be easier. Peak hours are from 7am to 9am and 5pm to 8pm.