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Drivers of ride-hailing services like Uber and Grab are now barred by a taxi operator from picking up passengers at four more locations – Publika, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Sunway Putra Mall and JW Marriott Hotel – in a report by The Sun.

“We are expanding the restriction imposed in KLCC because these places are part of Big Blue’s territory, and it is our priority that the public have a good and safe customer experience,” Big Blue Taxi Service founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said.

The news comes just days after he said Uber and Grab drivers will be blocked from picking up passengers at Suria KLCC. He said the company had the right to impose such a restriction due to a contract he had with the respective building owners or managers.

“Under the contract, only Big Blue taxis are allowed to pick up passengers from the property’s private road while those which are operating illegally or do not meet requirements of any of the authorities like Road Transport Department (JPJ) or the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) are prohibited from entering to pick up passengers even if they have bookings from visitors,” he said.

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However, drop-offs can still be within the building premises as the enforcement of such restrictions does not cover public or access roads. Shamsubahrin also added that those who had returned their taxis and are now driving private vehicles are welcomed to join the ZeptoBlue taxi fleet (a collaboration with Zepto Express).

“Once they join us, I am open to offer them employment contracts enabling them to earn a steady income of RM3,000 each month,” he explained, stressing that the offer is only available to those who own a valid Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence and a clean driving record.

“As customer safety is our utmost priority, we conduct strict checks with all the relevant authorities on all our drivers before offering them an employment contract. We do not hire or accept drivers who have a criminal record,” Shamsubahrin said, adding that he hopes to have some 5,000 new drivers by end of the year.