Taxi use in Malaysia up 40% recently because Grab fares are “exorbitant” at peak hours – taxi association

The number of users opting for taxis instead of ride-hailing has gone up by 40% of late due to the latter’s expensive fares during rush hours, according to Combined Taxi Across Malaysia president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain.

He said that while passengers rejoice whenever ride-hailing companies give fare discounts, they would turn to taxis when ride-hailing services raise their fares too much. “Ride-hailing fares can be raised (to suit the occasion partly) because the government has not introduced controlled fares (for ride-hailing services), as it has for taxis,” he said.

Speaking to The Sun, he said that the rush-hour fare hike stems from the way some companies take advantage of peak hours on the grounds of high demand. Making a pitch for taxis and their continued existence, he said that ride-hailing fares would continue to increase, and it will be impossible for it not to get out of control when the number of taxis decrease.

Taxi use in Malaysia up 40% recently because Grab fares are “exorbitant” at peak hours – taxi association

“The taxi service is a national land transport service that is fully controlled by the government, including the fares we charge,” he said, adding that taxi services are better compared with e-hailing firms, which are not controlled, and that the services are metered.

He said that services such as ride-hailing can benefit the industry and the country, but added that the government needed to do more to properly regulate such services. Failing to do so, he said, would make things “detrimental to business as well as taxi and e-hailing drivers.”

Consumers Association of Penang president Mohideen Abdul Kader echoed Kamarudin’s sentiment, saying ride-hailing services such as Grab should have ceiling fares just like taxis. He said that while Grab fares have not increased permanently at all times of the day, it has become very expensive during peak hours, public holidays and bad weather conditions, and at double or higher had become ridiculously exorbitant.

Taxi use in Malaysia up 40% recently because Grab fares are “exorbitant” at peak hours – taxi association

He said this was due to the fact that Grab now had fewer drivers. “If it deems it does not have enough drivers to cover the increased number of customers, they could very well hike up prices permanently. We hope it does not happen, because a lot of people depend on Grab to get around,” he explained.

He added that many other e-hailing providers, such as MyCar, Maxim and InDriver, have reasonable fares, but when a customer tries to book a ride, it takes forever to get one, or there would be none available. As such, Grab still has a monopoly on drivers.

The publication contacted Priority Communications, which handles Grab’s public relations, to ask how the ride-hailing provider sets its fares and what mechanism it uses for calculation purposes. However, aside from stating that Grab is currently observing a blackout period (a policy or rule setting a time interval during which certain actions are limited or denied), it said it was unable to obtain approval to comment on the matter.