Taxi Drivers Protest Against GrabCar 1

App-based car hailing service, GrabCar, has issued a statement on the recent ambush involving one of its operatives and a group of taxi drivers during the recent protest held at the Land Public Transport Commission‘s (SPAD) headquarters in Kelana Jaya. To recap, the unsuspecting GrabCar driver was hailed by one of the protesters in a ploy to get him arrested by SPAD.

The driver, Suhaimi Abdul Manaf, arrived at SPAD’s HQ in a Nissan Almera only to find himself surrounded by a mob of taxi drivers who prevented him from leaving before urging the authorities 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,” commented Jay Rohezan, the mastermind behind the trap.

In response, GrabCar has issued a statement on the episode. “We do not condone such ambush operations and believe the authorities should actively discourage it. As an industry it’s important to understand that consumers want both kinds of services and it is the reason why GrabCar exists,” said a spokesperson.

“In this region for example, regulators in Singapore and Philippines understand the market nuances and have regulatory frameworks that balance consumer protection and the flexibility needed for innovation in the public transport industry,” added the spokesperson. “The multiple services help to ease the barriers that exist within the industry, such as the lack of available on-demand transport options during peak period.”

Aside from said incident, it has to be said that the authorities have been actively pursuing drivers from Uber, GrabCar, Blacklane and Easy Taxi in a clampdown operation on illegal taxis. Recently, The Star has reported that a total of nine vehicles were seized during a similar operation. Of the nine seized, eight operated with GrabCar while the remaining one was with Uber.

While the services offered are not illegal, drivers who do not possess a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) license will be deemed to be flouting the law. “Without a license, it is illegal,” confirmed SPAD enforcement head, Datuk Che Hasni Che Ahmad. All in all, a total of 225 illegal taxis have been seized since the start of 2015.

According to a separate report by The Rakyat Post, SPAD has since mobilised 33 members to partake in operations in and around Petaling Jaya, Subang, Sunway, Bangsar, Sungai Besi and Kuala Lumpur. As mentioned, it is illegal for individuals to provide transport services without a license. Those guilty of such offences may be looking at a fine of up to RM100,000 and/or a prison sentence no longer than three years.