Following recent complaints of expensive fares and surge pricing for eHailing services, Transport Minister Datuk Dr. Wee Ka Siong has called upon the platform providers to provide an explanation and clarification on the alleged price increase. It was reported that fares have shot up as high as 400% during peak hours, prompting calls for the government to step in and to regulate eHailing pricing.
Commenting on the eHailing situation during his visit to Ampang Park LRT station yesterday, Dr. Wee said “An increase from RM20 to RM70 in the current situation is seen as burdensome to the people, so I think as a policymaker, we will see if any party is taking advantage to make a profit.” He has also instructed the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) to review, and ask the companies to explain what really happened. Dr Wee aims to get an answer in a day or two so that he can see what should be done or whether there’s a need to encourage more competition.
The minister said his Ministry will not compromise with any company found trying to take advantage by increasing fares or companies seeking to manipulate eHailing fares to make a profit.
According to APAD, there are factors such as the working environment of drivers, passengers, service providers, and others must be taken into account to ensure balanced supply and demand. It added that the concept of eHailing service involves mutual agreement between users and service providers for travel bookings through an application that displays the fare amount, and users have the option to choose to continue with the booking or not.
The Sun Daily reported two weeks ago that the number of taxi passengers has increased by 40% as commuters are looking for affordable options to get around. Combined Taxi Across Malaysia president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain said eHailing fares can be raised because the government has not introduced controlled fares as it has for taxis. He added it stems from the way some companies take advantage of peak hours on the grounds of high demand. Taxi fares are fixed with a starting fare of RM3 and passengers are charged an additional RM0.10 for every 115m distance travelled.
Besides eHailing, it appears that the same issue is also affecting food delivery services. During peak hours, customers have to wait longer for deliveries and the cost of delivery has increased tremendously. After all economic sectors have reopened, it was reported that demand for food delivery has dropped by 10% while approximately 25% of riders have left the delivery platforms.