Number of e-hailing drivers on the rise again

Despite the 16% that dropped out, the number of drivers who are legally on the road is definitely increasing, says Grab Malaysia country head


THE growth of the e-hailing industry, which experienced a slight hitch in the middle of the year following the government’s move to introduce the mandatory Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence, has picked up progressively with more authorised drivers on the road in recent months.

Grab Malaysia, the biggest e-hailing player in the country, has managed to get 62% of its targeted 150,000 drivers to be PSV licence holders since the regulation process began in April.

Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh said the number is expected to increase as more drivers are still undergoing the process.

“About 2% of drivers have passed and are waiting for the licence to be given, while 10% have finished training and are waiting to sit for exams,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Goh added that another 10% are still in training for the licence, while 16% have dropped out.

“Despite the 16% that dropped out, the number of drivers who are legally on the road with everything done is definitely increasing. Many of our driver-partners are still facing the challenges from the new regulations but so far, we have fully subsidised most of our drivers’ regulatory sign-up costs,” he said.

While Grab Malaysia is recording a gradual increase in the number of drivers, the same could not be shared by its competitor, JomRides.

JomRides head of marketing Musfaizal Mustafa said the number of licensed drivers that are registered with the company has remained stagnant.

He told TMR that of the 91,978 licensed drivers, about 30,000 are taxi drivers as announced by Transport Minister Anthony Loke last week.

“This shows that more than half the cars previously being driven are not qualified to be on the road. The rules have gotten stricter.

“For instance, the issues of road tax and vehicle ownership are not linked in one system, some of our drivers have experienced some difficulties in this area, especially when it comes to insurance,” he said.

Musfaizal said another challenge that smaller e-hailing organisations (EHOs) are facing now is the issuing cost of the e-hailing vehicle permit (EVP).

“It cost RM110 for each permit to be issued, which is a little unfair to those who cannot afford it. JomRides has about 30,000 drivers so the cost is quite high for us. This has also encouraged the big players to continue gaining a larger market share,” he said.

To remain competitive, Musfaizal said JomRides might also venture into other areas of the business including logistics and bike hailing.