Taxis need more than one-off help

Drivers are looking for long-term solutions to ensure their livelihood as earnings almost non-existent due to pandemic and MCOs

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

WORKERS in taxi-related industries, including e-hailing drivers, have been practically out of a job since the pandemic hit, followed by movement restrictions ordering the majority of the population to stay home.

To get by, some drivers have turned to p-hailing, transporting documents, food and parcels.

Big Blue Taxi Services founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said any one-off financial aid from the government would not be of much help for the drivers as they are looking for long-term solutions to ensure their livelihood.

“I have written to the government to allow us to deliver the government’s aid to the people.

“If they are concerned about cleanliness, we have our own warehouse for sterilisation processes,” he told The Malaysian Reserve, adding that Big Blue Taxi has prepared a system platform for door-to-door delivery and distribution.

“We have corresponded with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Transport Ministry and the chief secretary to the government, but there were a few hiccups after we got the green light.

“We have offered delivery or distribution service for all the other ministries and were asked to contact them, but there have been very little response.”

Big Blue Taxi has over 30,000 drivers nationwide.

Shamsubahrin said they are prepared for immediate deployment, stating that the government’s existing delivery and distribution infrastructure might require further aid.

“There could be a lack of human capital. As such, we are offering our registered 30,000 drivers, who are looking for more than just one-off payments, to be of service.

“To-date, the government has given RM500 and RM600 separately in financial aid to the drivers, but they are still struggling every day.

“Therefore, we offer our drivers so that they can make a little income, rather than nothing at all.”

Shamsubahrin added that there are some delays in food and aid deliveries and that people have raised white flags in desperation for basic necessities, hence an immediate deployment of the drivers would be a mutually beneficial move.

“By appointing Big Blue Taxi, they would help not only the people in need, but also the taxi drivers and e-hailing drivers.

“We also have various types of fleets from saloon to MPVs to accommodate all delivery sizes,” he said, adding that this would also be a good way to leverage the demand surge in food and parcel delivery.

“Although the drivers are grateful for the government-initiated efforts, more needs to be done,” he said.

Sharing this sentiment was Gabungan Teksi SeMalaysia president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain, who said the group has sent an official letter to the PM asking for further assistance and to address the loss in human capital.

“In their attempt to make as many deliveries as possible in a day to make ends meet, drivers and riders are risking their lives rushing from one destination to another,” he said.

According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research on April 18, 70% of p-hailing riders are at risk during peak hours on the road.