Ride-hailing service providers are reiterating the point that major service issues could arise when new regulations are enforced come mid-July.

The government has imposed a July 12 deadline for all ride-hailing drivers to be registered for a public service vehicle (PSV) licence. With the licence application process being cumbersome and expensive, ride-hailing companies foresee between 20% and 50% of their drivers quitting, primarily part-time drivers, as The Star reports.

Registration for the 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. Drivers also need to pass criminal background and medical checks, contribute to Socso, purchase add-on car insurance and equip their cars with safety equipment, including fire extinguishers.

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. It is estimated that a driver will need to spend around RM800 to complete the requirements.

“Drivers dropping out is definitely going to happen, that is undeniable. We are expecting a minimum of a 20% dropout rate,” Mula Kuala Lumpur branch manager Kumeran Sagathevan said. He added that while full-time drivers will comply with the regulations, part-time drivers will likely stop driving.

“The part-timers do not want the hassle of applying for the licence, they like the simplicity of becoming a driver where you can just turn on the app and start driving. When you impose regulations like this, ride-hailing is not exactly ride-hailing anymore.

As for Carriage For Her, CEO Nick Smith said the company anticipates a 30% to 40% dropout rate from its pool of female drivers. “Many of our drivers haven’t made up their mind on whether to apply for the licence or not. Many are still adopting a wait-and-see attitude,” he said.

He added that the regulations will increase some companies’ expenditure, resulting in fares possibly being adjusted. For example, Carriage For Her is paying RM100 per driver to register them for the licence, but has no plans to increase that price at the moment, he explained.

Meanwhile, Grab Drivers Malaysia Associa­tion president Arif Asyraf Ali exp­ects the dropout rate to be as high as 50%. He said that with fewer drivers on the road, consumers and riders may find it difficult to find a driver and the increased demand may drive up fares.