Some taxi companies may be forced to close down

PETALING JAYA: Some taxi companies may be forced to shut down with the exodus of drivers from the industry due to stiff competition from ride-hailing services.

Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operators Association (Perpekli) president Datuk Aslah Abdullah said operators may have no other choice but to close doors if the trend of drivers returning their cabs continues.

“If there is nothing we (operators) can do about it, we can’t operate, then of course we will have to shut down.

“I can’t say for sure what will happen in the long run, but in the short term, we are definitely feeling the pinch,” he told theSun today.

He was responding to a report by theSun on Monday that as many as 10,000 conventional cab drivers may have returned their taxis to their respective companies, in the face of competition from e-hailing services.

“Don’t tell me we have to force these drivers to drive our cabs? And you also can’t expect us to give them free rentals only for them to drive. We too have a lot to pay for,” he said.

When asked if he foresees more drivers leaving the industry, Aslah said: “You don’t have to look into the future. Just look at what’s happening over the past three to four months”.

Echoing Aslah’s sentiment that taxi companies may be forced to close down, Malaysian Taxi Drivers' Transformation Association (Pers1m) president Kamaruddin Mohd Hussain said he understood that a number of cabbies had also jumped ship to join ride-hailing services because of the incentives provided to them.

He said many taxi drivers have had enough of the treatment given to them by operators as compared to Grab and Uber drivers.

“It’s true, there are a lot of drivers who can’t survive and have returned their vehicles. A lot of companies will shut down because of this.

“Before this, they (operators) did not sympathise with us drivers. They impose high rental charges, force us to drive even when we are sick just so they can earn their income. Let this be a lesson to them,” he said.

However, Kamarudin said Grab and Uber drivers may start to leave their platforms too in the future once the government regulates their services, which could include obtaining a driver’s card and sending their cars for inspections.

Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia, in a statement yesterday, announced that GrabCar fares would be lowered from RM1.30 per km to RM1.10 per km in Klang Valley for weekends (all day) and weekday (non-rush hours) effective today.