The transport ministry says it is looking into ride-hailing services following complaints from users about increasingly expensive fares, which are becoming a burden to consumers. According to transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, the ministry – through the land public transport agency (APAD) – has instructed certain ride-hailing companies to explain and clarify the alleged increase in fares, Bernama reports.

“A fare increase from RM20 to RM70 in the current situation is certainly a burden to the people, so I think as a policymaker, we will see if any party is taking advantage to make a profit. I’ve asked the APAD to review, and to ask the companies to explain what really happened,” he said.

Wee said he anticipates an answer from the ride-hailing companies very soon. “In a day or two. I expect them to give an explanation so that we can see in terms of what we should do and whether to encourage more competition,” he told reporters yesterday.

He added that if the companies blamed it on congestion, he questioned as to why such an issue had never happened before (before the pandemic). He said that the ministry would not compromise with any company found trying to take advantage by increasing fares or companies seeking to manipulate ride-hailing fares to make a profit.

Fares – notably those of Grab – were recently reported to have increased by up to 400% during peak hours, sparking discontent from consumers who called for government intervention. Wee said that to be fair to all parties, the ministry would wait for the explanation from ride-hailing companies before deciding on the next course of action.

Taxi services have apparently benefited from the increased ride-hailing fares – last week, the Combined Taxi Across Malaysia association said that 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.