Last week, Malaysia Airports announced a re-designation of e-hailing pick-up points at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 1 (KLIA) and 2 (KLIA2) in a move intended to smoothen the often-congested traffic at both airports, as well as to ensure a more systematic public transportation flow.

The new system has also introduced a five-minute waiting time for all e-hailing drivers, with a RM10 penalty being imposed on drivers waiting for more than five minutes in the pickup lane and an additional RM10 penalty for a further five minutes. This has led to criticism from some parties, who claim that it is being done to generate additional revenue.

In a statement, Malaysia Airports said that with an average of 165,000 passengers pass through both KLIA terminals every day, and the public transport hub at both terminals seeing an average of 2,200 public transport vehicles daily (including an average of 300 e-hailing drivers), the introduction of the time limit is meant to manage any potential congestion and not intended to make money, as suggested by critics.

The company said that any e-hailing drivers picking up passengers at the terminal can easily avoid paying any extra charges by driving out of the terminal within the allocated time at no charge. In the event that passengers are not yet waiting at the designated pick-point within the stipulated time, drivers can then opt to exit the area first and re-enter the kerbside area.

In determining the maximum waiting time, Malaysia Airports said a study conducted prior to the implementation showed that the passenger pick-up for a six-person ride – which includes senior citizens and children – can be achieved within less than four minutes. Data gleaned since the implementation on October 12 revealed that 95% of all e-hailing drivers managed to pick up passengers and exit within the five-minute period.