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The increase of ride-hailing drivers from services like Uber and GrabCar in Melaka have drawn the ire of taxi drivers there, who complained that said drivers – said to include many college students and factory workers in the mix – are robbing them of their business.

The Star quotes Melaka Taxi and Tourist Drivers Association chairman Zulkiflie Baharom, who said that private cars were “brazenly” picking up passengers from Melaka Sentral, the city’s main transportation hub. He added that cab drivers have confronted these “e-hailing” drivers at Bandar Hilir and Dataran Palawan.

“The college students told us they were making supplementary income for their education while factory workers – some still in their uniforms – gave the excuse that they needed the extra cash for their families,” he said, adding that the association has made known that it opposes the rise of these services.

Zulkiflie also claimed that these drivers were looking to make a quick buck without proper consideration of passenger safety. “Most of the passengers are at risk without proper insurance coverage in the event of an untoward incident.

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“Many of our members have lodged police reports to pressure the authorities to stop these services in the state,” he said, urging the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to take action against the drivers.

The Melaka Transportation and Project Rehabilitation Committee will bring the issue up with these authorities, said its chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong. “We take this seriously and we hope taxi drivers will provide us with information, so that we can act against these drivers,” he said.

Last month, the cabinet approved the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP), which will legalise and regulate the “e-hailing” industry. Drivers are now required to obtain a driver’s card from SPAD and are subjected to mandatory roadworthiness inspections.

Regulations will also be imposed on e-hailing companies and drivers to ensure that legitimate policy objectives like compulsory insurance coverage and safety requirements are met.