Taxi drivers are apparently returning their vehicles to their respective companies in huge numbers – as many as 10,000, in fact – according to a report by The Sun. The English language daily said that it had found some 200 taxis, mostly returned, at or around the building belonging to taxi operator New Supercab in Glenmarie.

Stiff competition from ride-hailing services such as Uber and GrabCar has seen an increase of returns, despite many taxi companies cutting their rates since May in a bid to encourage drivers to stay on. The downpayment for a lease has dropped from RM8,000 with a guarantor to under RM2,500 without a guarantor required, and daily rental rates have also been reduced from RM55 to RM40 for a Proton Persona.

“Most taxi operators and companies have reported a high number of vehicles being returned,” said Peninsular Bumiputra Taxi Operators Association (Perbumi) president Datuk Mohd Alias Abdul. “We are not talking about just old vehicles, but even new ones.”

Alias added that taxi driver incomes have dropped by as much as 40% since the introduction of apps like Uber and Grab. “Between 10% and 30% of the total number of taxis [35,000] in the Klang Valley have been returned to their operators in the past three to four weeks,” he said

uber cash payment

Ride-hauling services like Uber and GrabCar have reportedly seen a decrease in taxi driver income

He also said that there were several instances of repossessions due to several months of outstanding rental payments. “We have given [the drivers] a lot of leeway. Some of them have outstanding payments of five or six months although we gave them notices and warnings,” he added

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for New Supercab said that there has been a “huge” increase in returns and repossessions, particularly over the past few months. “I spoke to some of our drivers, and most of them said it was hard for them to cope with the competition from Uber and Grab, earning hardly enough income for themselves,” she said.

However, Big Blue Taxi Services founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said that his company hasn’t seen an increase of returns, as it operates premium taxi services instead of the budget taxis that are affected.