Ride-hailing service providers warn that there could be major service issues and potentially high fares if many ride hailing drivers are not able to register for a public service vehicle (PSV) licence by the July 12 deadline imposed by the government, the New Straits Times reports.

Registration for the PSV licence – which involves sitting for a six-hour training course at a cost of RM200 – began on April 1 at authorised e-Hailing Operator (eHO) driving institutes and training centres, and the short time period is leaving many to question if everything will go to plan.

“There are about 200,000 e-hailing drivers nationwide. Do you think all of them can obtain the PSV licence by July? On top of that, there are not even enough trainers to begin training the drivers with the new module,” said Mohd Faizul Ezmin, a representative from e-hailing company Decentralised Alternative Cabs Serving and Empowering Everyone (Dacsee).

He said there fares would likely skyrocket, especially during peak hours, given that there will be fewer drivers on the road to meet the ever-growing demand for ride-hailing services.

“The e-hailing drivers are the ones who make the system work. If there are fewer of them on the road due to failure to get the PSV licence before the deadline, then the fares will surely go up. During peak hours, there won’t be enough drivers available and the waiting time will also be much longer. Users will be angry, for sure,” Faizul said.

A representative from another ride-hailing provider also questioned the short period being given before enforcement kicks in.

“The (transport) minister keeps talking about the need for e-hailing drivers to get their PSV licence by July. He has been saying this since the first week of January. However, the JPJ only launched the module on April 1. The process to apply for the PSV licence is also unclear. Ride-hailing companies and drivers now have only three months to sort everything out. I urge (authorities) to extend the deadline,” he said.

Earlier this week, JPJ director-general Datuk Shaharuddin Khalid told the publication that there were 30 to 35 registered ride-hailing companies in Malaysia, with four of these authorised to manage their own PSV training facilities. Grab and Dacsee are among the quartet. He added that the PSV module for e-hailing drivers is available at any of the approved 211 driving academies and e-hailing centres nationwide.

Under new regulations, all taxi and ride-hailing drivers will need to hold a PSV licence as listed under Section 56 of the Road Transport Act 1987. Vehicles to be used for ride-hailing duty that are less than three years old will also need to be converted from an individual private vehicle to an e-hailing private nehicle, while cars over three years old must be inspected at Puspakom, for which RM55 needs to be paid.