Taxi Drivers Demand Government Create Unified E-Hailing App, Allow Nothing Else


Taxi Drivers Demand Government Create Unified E-Hailing App, Allow Nothing Else

Dissatisfied with the emergence and disruptive effects of ride hailing services in the past half-decade, taxi drivers are now calling upon the Malaysian government to help level the playing field by developing an app specifically for them.

Specifically, the outcry was channeled via a memorandum by Penyatuan Pemain Industri Pengangkutan Darat Malaysia (PPDM), an organisation that represents the views and interest of taxi drivers in Malaysia, and delivered to the Prime Minister’s office.

In it, they demanded the federal government take charge to correct the disparity and lack of growth in the taxi industry by developing a bespoke ‘e-hailing’ style app. This would not, however, merely compete with current commercial players such as Grab and AirAsia Ride, but supplant them all.

Taxi - Malaysia

In effect, this would mean all future ride hailing bookings (and charges, presumably) will be directed through this one unified app with the aforementioned private companies being reliant upon the government to distribute the spread of customers, routes, and journeys according to their discretion.

By doing this, the government could have the means to deliver better rates to Malaysians who use the app by applying consistent and uniform fares between taxis and other ride hailing vehicles/services, allowing them to compete on service quality and merit rather than market monopoly and marketing budget.

According to PPDM, these private industry players have thus far sapped billions of Ringgit from the taxi industry and, with this unified app, could better channel the revenue and collective profits to upgrade the quality of taxi services in the country in addition to providing improved insurance coverage to the drivers themselves as well as provide scholarships to their children, among others.

Taxi - Bukit Bintang

Years ago, drastic action was also called upon by a coalition of cabbies when ride hailing apps were starting up in Malaysia. Remember when Uber was still around? Back then, they called for the outright ban of such services, multiple times, pointing out the lack of safety, potential for exorbitant charges (ironic), and of course the threat it posed to the taxi industry - their livelihoods.

Ignoring that such a sweeping change would take years to fully realise, even if the taxi drivers got everything they wanted in this memorandum, it’s not clear if the end result will improve the transportation situation for Malaysians.

Yes, many complaints are forthcoming that Grab’s current monopoly has caused the price-per-fare to increase consistently, but the solution to this is probably not to introduce harsh government oversight. As is the case in other countries, competition is the crucible for improvement, and as better alternatives emerge, the tussle between services to win over each customer will mean the best quality service will prosper.

Jim Kem

Jim Kem

Content Producer

There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.