Taxi Drivers Protest Against GrabCar 1

Yes, the same old people protesting against the same old people. The only things that have changed in this latest taxi driver protest against app-based car hailing services GrabCar and Uber are the names of the cabbies’ organisation and the location.

Earlier today, some 50 taxi drivers from various associations in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor held a protest at the headquarters of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in Kelana Jaya and submitted a memorandum. The well worn reason is that the mushrooming of these “unlicensed taxis” have impacted their income, The Rakyat Post reports.

According to a rep from the Badan Bertindak Pemandu Teksi Bersatu, Rosman Rahmat, taxi drivers can no longer bear the hike in natural gas-powered vehicles (NGV) fuel costs and the goods and services tax (GST), while having to compete with unlicensed private drivers.

“We are forced to band together to help ourselves, this is the final resort as citizens of the country. We request that drastic action be taken against the unlicensed taxies. The applications of private car companies must also be stopped,” the 45-year old cabbie said, adding that the safety of the private vehicles and the identity of the drivers are unverified.

“Taxi drivers are not given a mechanism with regards to Social Security Organization (Perkeso), subsidies or insurance to face any eventualities that occur during their work,” added Raj Rajathinam from the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Taxi Driver’s Association.

The protesting cabbies also “trapped” a private car driver by requesting a ride via the MyTeksi/GrabCar app. The arriving driver, Suhaimi Abdul Manaf, saw his car surrounded by cabbies, who then urged SPAD to arrest him. “They told us they are going to take him to the depot or main headquarters to process him. Hopefully, they will take stern action,” said Jay Rohezan, the man who set up the trap.

According to SPAD’s 2014 survey, more than half the respondents said they didn’t feel safe riding in a taxi, and 50% said they were forced to take taxis which did not use the meter. Other common complaints were that it was almost impossible to get a taxi in bad weather and during peak hours. “People must want to take taxis. Otherwise, they will take the risk of going to unlicensed operators,” SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said last month.

While SPAD has seized private cars from GrabCar and Uber before, Syed Hamid concedes that enforcement was proving a difficult task, as the outfit had only 300 staff.