Govt to monitor bike-hailing services through regular spot checks

To ensure the safety of passengers, officers from the ministry will go undercover and be disguised as a passenger

by ASILA JALIL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Transport Ministry will conduct regular spot checks on motorcycle e-hailing services to ensure the safety of passengers who are using the service.

Minister Anthony Loke said officers from the ministry will go undercover and be disguised as a passenger to examine if the riders and service operators comply with the road safety regulations.

“This is very important as we cannot compromise safety. The government has agreed to have a six-month trial period (for the services) and we will see how safe the rides are for passengers.

“Safety measures must be adhered to by all operators and I hope they focus their attention to this aspect,” he told reporters at Pasar Seni LRT (light rail transit) station yesterday.

The motorcycle e-hailing industry kicked off in Malaysia on Jan 1 under a six-month Proof of Concept (POC) pilot project for the system to be assessed before a regulatory framework is developed for the industry.

It currently has one player which is a local start-up, Dego Ride. Dego Ride has over 4,000 riders registered under it and 700 have been approved so far.

The rate for Dego Ride is set at RM3 for the first 3km, with RM1 charged for every subsequent kilometre.

The application also has a special feature that allows female passengers to request for a female rider. It was reported that 100 female riders have signed up with Dego Ride with less than 50 approved.

Loke used Dego Ride service from the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Police Contingent Headquarters to Pasar Seni LRT station. He did not inform the service operator that he would test the ride and the rider did not know who he was until they arrived at the location.

Loke said he waited for 15 minutes before his request was accepted by the rider.

“We know that the service is still new and we do not have a lot of bike-hailing services yet. Therefore, the waiting time would be slightly longer,” he said, adding that the rider adhered to road safety regulations and provided a helmet to Loke before he got on the ride.

A few other companies have expressed their intention to provide the service during the POC period, but only Dego Ride has offered its service to the public, said Loke.

Loke added that the six-month pilot project will lead to a development of a regulatory framework for the ride-hailing industry and other services that involve motorcycles.

“We want to look at this holistically. Once this service is more integrated, not just for passengers but for food delivery and other deliveries as well, we will then regulate the entire industry altogether. That is why we are doing this pilot project,” he added.

As for Indonesia’s Gojek, Loke said the company has to set up a company in Malaysia first if they wish to provide their service here.

He, however, said the ministry has yet to receive any application from Gojek.

Meanwhile, Loke also criticised the poor maintenance of the Kuala Lumpur KTM Komuter station as he discovered that only one out of the two new walkators built at the station is functioning during his rounds at the station yesterday.

He also said only one out of four ticketing machines in the station was still in good condition.

He said the condition is embarrassing and does not portray a good image of the country, especially amid the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

“I want the top management of these companies to come down regularly and check the services provided on the ground.

“It is not just the minister who must come down to check on these matters. The CEO of the respective government-linked companies must be more proactive,” he added.