E-hailing drivers to undergo stricter processes next year

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By TMR

E-hailing drivers will start to undergo a stringent verification and licensing process, including a six-hour training module beginning next month, as the government seeks to certify these app-booking personal drivers.

The training for about 300,000 existing drivers on the digital boo-king platforms will focus on technology and entrepreneurship, quality service and new industry regulations to improve the driver’s capability.

Previously, ride-hailing drivers do not have to undergo such licensing training, drawing ire from the traditional cabbies.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced that drivers would be given a grace period until July 12, 2019, to obtain a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence. Many e-hailing drivers claimed that the authority has failed to provide greater clarification on the matter.

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in an email reply to The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) said the PSV registration for ride-hailing drivers will start from January until July next year as the authority will put into place a few processes and draft-related frameworks for the industry.

SPAD said the Cabinet had agreed on the six-hour training module. The training can be provided by e-hailing and taxi operators for their drivers respectively.

SPAD said between January 2019 and March 2019, private vehicle drivers will need to undergo Train the Trainer programme — a coaching session for the Taxi Vocational Licence modules by authorised instructors.

“Instructors from driving institutions, taxi companies and e-hailing platforms will be trained by the Driving School Licensing Committee. The PSV will include theoretical training, testing and health checks,” SPAD said in an email interview.

The commission also said it is working closely with the Road Transport Department or JPJ in developing the six-hour module and ensuring the relevant processes for the industry.

As part of the PSV registration process, e-hailing drivers will also need to get an Electronic Driver’s Card from SPAD, which includes a review of criminal records, compound records or summons, and the suspension or cancellation of any previous PSV licence.

“The registered owner or legal representative of the e-hailing vehicle is required to obtain approval from JPJ to change the use of the Motor Vehicle Licence of a private vehicle to an e-hailing private vehicle.”

SPAD stressed that the whole registration process will not cost more than RM200 as set by the Cabinet.

Major e-hailing firm Grab said the company is preparing for the processes, ready to assist both the government and their drivers.

Grab said it wants to see the industry grows into a force to be reckoned with on the global tech and digital economy.

“The announcement of regulations has given hundreds of thousands of hardworking Malaysians the confidence to continue earning an honest, respectable income, and is appreciated by the millions of people here who rely on e-hailing to move around,” Grab previously told TMR.

Grab stressed, however, that the regulations should aim to add value to Malaysians, rather than adding on more requirements just for the sake of levelling the playing field.

For Big Blue Taxi founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, he said he will continue to push taxi drivers to move to the e-hailing platform.

“We are here to help them and we hope that they will move and fill up the available spaces that the many e-hailing platforms have,” he said.