Taxi drivers who used the MyTeksi application have vowed to abstain from it and refused to provide service to the application’s customers in a protest against ride-share applications Uber and GrabCar. The strike, which began yesterday, will go on for 7 days.
Around 300 taxi drivers protested in front MyTeksi’s headquarters, which is located at Jalan Kemajuan, Petaling Jaya, yesterday morning. The protest, which caused traffic congestion, demands for the axing of Uber and GrabCar, as they stated that the aforementioned applications goes against the rules and has been eating into their income.
Mathavan Subramaniam, secretary for the Subang Jaya Taxi Drivers Association (PPTSJ), elaborated that GrabCar is an illegal entity, as it goes against various ground rules set by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
Taxi drivers have to undergo a health screening test before being eligible for a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence, which in turn is a prerequisite to drive a taxi. However, GrabCar is not subjected to this rule. Their vehicles are not inspected by Puspakom and they do not have the safety authorisation to carry passengers. This is a clear violation of SPAD rules, but GrabCar is still in operation.
He further explained that the applications’ low rates has caused a loss of business for a huge amount of taxi drivers:
When the industry is as such, how are we supposed to make a living and take care of our families? We are unable to pay rental to the taxi companies, sometimes.
While complaints have been lodged to the SPAD, no visible action has been taken, with Mathavan saying, “We have sent many reports to them, but they only said one thing: “We will inform our enforcement team to take action”.”
Kamarudin Mohd Hussain, the deputy chairman for Malaysian Taxi Drivers’ Transformation Association (PERS1M), conveyed his disappointment with SPAD for not acting in the best interest for the industry.
He not only chided SPAD for failing in their duties, but also expressed his betrayal at MyTeksi:
Until today, SPAD has not been responsible and has failed in its duties; and I urge (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib Razak to revamp SPAD and its officers. The industry is becoming more and more damaged because people do not care about the industry.
We have been promoting MyTeksi and have been urging passengers to use the app to get a taxi, and now this is how they (MyTeksi) repay us.
A memorandum was submitted and received by Vincent Tan, marketing manager for MyTeksi. However, Kamarudin has stated that a larger protest will take place if the terms of the memorandum were not agreeable.
GrabCar, a fairly new application owned by MyTeksi, works in the same way as Uber, allowing customers to hail commonplace vehicles belonging to anyone who has a driver’s license. Uber has also been embroiled in several controversies since its inception, not only in Malaysia, but also in France. In Malaysia, taxi drivers have been protesting for a ban against Uber while in France, 2 Uber leaders were taken into custody by police as part of a probe into the ride-sharing application.
What do you think of the fiasco? Do you think the ride-sharing applications should be banned? How many of you depend on these apps to hail a ride? Let us know in the comments box below.