Pilot run for bike-hailing in January 2020

Companies like Gojek and Dego Ride could start the pilot process to measure demand for the service for 6 months

pic by TMR FILE

MOTORBIKE-HAILING firms can start operations on a pilot test within the Klang Valley from January 2020 onwards, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

Companies like Indonesia’s Gojek and local start-up Dego Ride could start the pilot or proof of concept (PoC) process to measure demand for the service over a period of six months.

“All bike-hailing services will be subject to the same terms as set out in the e-hailing service, that is, the terms of the mediation business, driver, service and vehicle operations,” Loke told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said the Cabinet had on Nov 1 agreed that businesses, which provide public service vehicles and motorcycle (bike-hailing) services, shall be regulated by licensing rules and regulations under the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333), Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board Act (Act 334) and Land Public Transport Act 2010 (Act 715).

He was responding to a query from Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Pakatan Harapan-Setiawangsa) who asked when the pilot project for motorcycle ride-hailing services like Dego Ride and Gojek would begin.

“Bike-hailing will be an important component in providing a comprehensive public transportation system, as a mode for first- and last-mile connectivity.

“The pilot project will be limited to the Klang Valley, although the government will consider expanding it to other areas if there is demand,” he added.

Loke added that his ministry is currently in the process of developing the legal frameworks and requirements to regulate this service.

“The legislative amendment would take time as it requires the presentation and approval of the Parliament, therefore the government agreed that companies interested in providing the bike-hailing service would be allowed to carry out the pilot or PoC process.

“During the PoC period, bike-hailing companies can prepare and test the implementation of the service. This will enable the government and the firms to collect data, assess demand levels, assess acceptance levels and other operational requirements regarding these services,” he said.

The implementation of bike-hailing services through the PoC method is open to any registered local company if it complies with all applicable PoC regulations.

There is, however, no obligation on the government to authorise bike-hailing after the PoC.

“Notice will be made to all service providers that there is no obligation on the government to extend the PoC period,” he said.

Other requirements that operators must adhere to when implementing the PoC process include that only one passenger is allowed at a time and no passengers under 18 years old can use this service at any time.

“This is to ensure safety for passengers especially for minors (to prevent criminal cases),” Loke said.

Besides that, the driver must have a full driver’s licence; be no less than 18 years of age; and must use clear signs of clothing and markings on motorcycles.

“Bike-hailing companies must provide uniforms to their drivers to facilitate the recognition and regulation process. The company is also required to supply helmets that comply with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) standards to drivers and passengers at all times,” he reiterated.

During the six-month process, the bike-hailing firms are required to record information like passenger gender, age, origin and destination, time, fare, motorcycle type and travel distance.

“All this information must be shared with the Transport Ministry, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, Malaysia Road Safety Department, Royal Malaysia Police, and any research institution or body of interest recognised by the ministry,” Loke said.

All service providers intending to implement bike-hailing services through the PoC method are also recommended to provide passenger and third-party insurance coverage.

“To ensure passenger safety, only motorcycles which do not exceed the age limit of five years from the date of registration with JPJ are allowed,” he added.

In August this year, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in a video posted on Twitter announced that the government agreed in principle to let Gojek — whose backers include Alphabet Inc’s Google and Chinese tech companies Tencent Holdings Ltd and JD.com Inc — and Dego Ride, to operate in the country, but added that it would have to review its laws before giving approval.

Following successful launches in Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and a failed attempt in the Philippines, Gojek has been mulling a Malaysian entry since January this year.