Uber expects less part-time drivers with new regulation

By MARK RAO / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Uber Technologies Inc expects less part-time drivers for its company, following the government’s move to introduce new regulatory framework on ride-sharing services in the country.

Uber Malaysia and Singapore GM Warren Tseng (picture) said the legal requirements could result in the shift towards a stronger full-time driver base for the e-hailing industry, as some part-time drivers may struggle to cope with the new law.

“As you add more bureaucracies or processes to the regulations to become a driver, it is very likely that the part-time demographic will not want to go through it just to clock in a few hours a week,” he said at a briefing session yesterday.

“As a result, maybe the ratio of drivers becomes more full-time. Part-time drivers presently make up 80% of all ride-sharing drivers in the country.”

Currently, he said Uber is still waiting on concrete details regarding the new law, after amendments to the Land Public Transport Act 2010 and Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 were passed in Parliament in August this year.

Meanwhile, the firm is currently engaging with local authorities to help in addressing the issue of traffic congestion in main cities like Kuala Lumpur (KL).

Tseng said Uber is in close dialogue with regulators in the country as it aims to jointly develop policies to fuel the next phase of the ridesharing era, which include tackling the traffic issues in major cities.

Based on a study commissioned by Uber and conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), growing population and wealth in the East Asian region resulted in transport demand increasing by four times since 1980, with Malaysia ranking the thirdhighest in demand behind South Korea and Singapore.

BCG Malaysia partner and MD Rick Ramli said that achieving the 91% reduction in traffic congestion in KL alone is based on a high adoption of e-hailing services and highpooling scenarios.

“In order to reduce traffic congestion, ride-sharing has to become the No 1 mode of private transportation in the area,” Rick said.

“Secondly, a greater adoption of carpooling is needed and this can only occur under the right conditions.”

Still, Tseng said the company has no immediate plans to introduce its UberPool carpooling service in Malaysia as it is still studying the country’s market readiness.