SPAD Vs. Uber: Drivers Not Allowed To Renew Road Tax Unless They Surrender Their Vehicles

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has figured out a way to trace private car owners who use their vehicles for the service.

Cover image via SAYS

SPAD admits Malaysia's taxi industry needs to improve to offer better service to consumers

SPAD said that a key issue was the “decades old” legacy taxi operation/leasing model, commonly known as pajak system.

“In reality, the taxi industry in Malaysia is far from being anywhere near perfect. It remains the most fragmented segment of our public transport and is riddled with legacy issues which have been around for the past few decades,” the statement said.

SPAD has promised to address this by implementing the Centralised Taxi Service System (CTSS) which will serve as a central platform to monitor taxi supply distribution and performance.

“It will also integrate with existing booking and dispatch systems to enhance travel experience,” it said.

Drivers with no permit are not allowed to run taxi-like services, warns government

Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim

Image via New Straits Times

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, acknowledged that such services made it more convenient for consumers to book their taxi rides.

“However, bookings through the apps to match taxi drivers that are not registered or licensed by SPAD and using private or rented cars are offences,” he said.

Shahidan said SPAD has held several meetings with the apps operators and stakeholders and issued written notices to remind the operators that only permitted vehicles were allowed for their services.

He said they included Uber, MyTeksi, EasyTeksi and MongerTeksi.

5 OCT: There will be no need for undercover operations to ambush private hire vehicles companies anymore. To clamp down on Uber’s services, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) announced that they will be blocking Uber drivers from renewing their road tax.

SPAD will be using Uber's app itself to identify private car owners who use their vehicles for the service through the digital log in the Uber app, and subsequently bring them in for investigation

For example, after a certain private car has been identified from the digital log in the Uber app alongside solid evidence of video and photo of their operations, the authority will then send out a notice to the car owner to attend an 'interview' with the SPAD enforcement division," a government source told.

"They are also required to bring along the alleged cars for inspection."

The source was also reported as saying that these cars may be seized for violating Section 16 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010.

If a car owner fails to comply to the first notice to attend an interview and bring the said car, a second notice will be sent out before SPAD "utilise all available channels" to find the vehicle

Described as a lose-lose situation for Uber drivers, the source said the owners may evade for a while, “but it is a matter of time before their cars are impounded”.

This includes coordination with Road Transport Department (RTD) to blacklist the vehicle from renewing the road tax until the owner surrenders the vehicle.

"SPAD is using the same method that police employ to get traffic offenders to settle outstanding summonses," the source added.

Saying that the method will also apply to GrabCar soon, a senior SPAD official commented that this method is specifically used against Uber drivers because of the limitation in using the credit cards for Uber

"Once a driver is nabbed, Uber will immediately blacklist the credit card of the passenger."

"This hampers our operations to nab more Uber drivers."

Spad has impounded 145 private cars, including 44 Uber and 97 GrabCar vehicles, since October last year for offering illegal taxi services.

Protests against private hire vehicle companies have been rampant lately. Just last week, a group of taxi drivers protested and ambushed a GrabCar driver before he was arrested by SPAD:

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