"Take A Taxi" – Deputy Transport Minister Tells E-Hailing Users Who Protest Fare Hikes
Deputy Transport Minister Henry Sum Agong suggested that e-hailing users look to other modes of transportation if they do not agree with e-hailing fares
At a parliamentary sitting on Monday, 15 August, Henry was questioned by member of parliament (MP) Lim Pay Hen, about the rising cost of e-hailing services and how the Ministry of Transport (MOT) would address the issue.
Addressing his question, Henry mentioned that whether the fares are expensive or not, people have the choice to accept the fares.
"[People] have the liberty to choose any e-hailing service that they see fit. They can also choose to accept or decline the services that have been set by the e-hailing service, including the rates of the service," said Henry.
Henry also brought up the issue of supply and demand for e-hailing services and mentioned that this was one of the reasons for the price hikes
According to Henry, many e-hailing drivers chose to quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the endemic phase rolled in, there was a surplus of customers but not enough drivers to meet demand. He reasoned that this forced e-hailing services to increase their prices.
Dominic Lau Hoe Chai President of Malaysian People's Movement Party (PGRM), raised an additional question regarding the topic of supply and demand issues. Lau questioned Henry on the monopoly of a single e-hailing service, where one e-hailing company almost completely dominates the customer base of the e-hailing business.
When pressed about the monopoly issue, Henry simply mentioned that the MOT will conduct a study and will work with the agencies involved to resolve the matter.
Many Malaysians have claimed that Grab has been raising its fares to extortionate degrees, and many of its customers are sick of it
Currently the biggest e-hailing service in Malaysia, Grab has become the number one choice for those who rely on its services to book a private ride to get around.
However, according to Free Malaysia Today, customers have become increasingly irate with Grab's fare hikes in recent years. Customers have allegedly paid double, sometimes quadruple, the normal fare price, especially during peak hours.
According to Grab, it is mentioned in their e-hailing regulations, that their base fares have not changed and will only be affected by factors such as peak hours (which runs from 7am to 9am, as well as from 5pm to 8pm), high demand for drivers, and rainy weather. They also mention that by raising their fares during situations like these, it encourages more drivers to pick up customers so that they can get to their destination.
Despite Grab's promises, customers have reported being charged more than the usual amount even when they travel during off-peak hours.