- DISCLOSURE: GRAB is a CILISOS advertiser. This article, however, is not sponsored by them.
- UPDATE: PSV deadline has been extended to October 12th 2019! We’re not sure how this is affecting businesses, but on social media, reports have been coming in that fares have doubled. TBC
In July last year, Transport Minister Anthony Loke began enforcement of e-hailing platforms, requiring their drivers to get a PSV (Personal Service Vehicle) license. This would require them to undergo
- a medical exam
- a 6-hour class
- a proficiency exam
- and if their car was older than 3 years, a Puspakom inspection.
In surveys, it was noted that 70% of citizens wanted the government to regulate e-hailing platforms. However, to give e-hailing platforms and drivers a chance to get their licenses in time, a one-year grace period was granted, which expires in July 2019. After this deadline, any GRAB, MyCar or other e-hailing drivers without PSVs would be operating illegally.
“If you are earning a few thousands of ringgit a month, there is no excuse not to get a PSV. The taxi drivers are gunning me and I want to make this a level playing field. No extension of date,” – Anthony Loke to The Star, December 2018
However, GRAB driver associations as well as e-hailing companies are concerned that the rollout might not be that smooth, and that the public would see a severe dropout in drivers come July.
“There will be a huge drop in drivers come July because surely, no company would allow drivers without PSV licences to be on their platform. If they do, both of them would be answerable to the law.
Drivers, be it part-time or full-time, will just find alternative jobs that do not require licences, such as food delivery services. Based on our conversations among drivers on group chats and social media postings, generally the part-timers will opt out,” he said, adding that part-time e-hailing drivers made up 30 per cent of the total Grab drivers nationwide. Arif Asyraf Ali, Grab Drivers Malaysia Association president to NST, April 4th
Why should the average rakyat care? Well here are a few reasons.
“If there are fewer of them on the road due to failure to get the PSV licence before the deadline, then the fares will surely go up. During peak hours, there won’t be enough drivers available and the waiting time will also be much longer. Our users will be angry for sure,” – Mohd Faizul Ezmin, DACSEE, NST Online, April 2019
Anthony Loke actually reiterated yesterday that there would be NO EXTENSION. In fact, we just received this notification in our GRAB app to remind us that 12 July is actually tomorrow, and a large number of GRAB drivers would probably not be driving in the uncertainty of the regulations.
But why the delay? What’s holding everyone back from just registering… typical last minute Malaysians? Well…
Driver training just started in April 2019, and they have 3 months to train 300,000 drivers
Considering that every one of the 300,000 e-hailing drivers in the country needs to be trained, we were quite surprised to find that actual training of drivers by government appointed centres just started on April 1st 2019.
However, one e-hailing provider, DACSEE, has claimed that there would be insufficient PSV trainers to instruct the vast numbers of e-hailing drivers in the country. We also asked the CEO of MyCar, who had this to say….
“We worry not able to (meet the July deadline). Somehow we working hard and closely to achieve at least 30% from total active drivers In our platform. Timing given for this 3 months is very tight, versus the number of drivers that need to be registered”- MyCar founder Mohd Noah Maideen to CILISOS
To help reach the deadline, MyCar are also submitting their own trainers for certification with the government, but it’s pretty hard to do in this 3-month scramble to July to train the trainers, AND organise sessions seems pretty tight. We reached out to Grab as well, who declined to comment on the issue for now. However, in an earlier press statement, they had this to say.
“While we welcomed the decision to regulate the industry, we are deeply concerned by what can perhaps be described as a lack of readiness by certain relevant agencies to facilitate the industry towards compliance. Furthermore, we have observed heightened enthusiasm by some enforcement agencies in taking rash actions against e-hailing drivers despite the moratorium period.” – Grab Malaysia, Official Statement, Feb 19, 2019
According to Road Transport Department (RTD) director-general Datuk Seri Shaharuddin Khalid, the PSV module is now available at 211 driving academies and e-hailing centres. This includes 30 of the 35 (WAH SO MANY) e-hailing services here in Malaysia. 26 of those are listed on JPJ site for Klang Valley, which is where most e-hailing drivers are. We called these 26 offices and here’s what we found.
- Classes aren’t every day. Half the centres had 1 class a week, 2 of the larger centres had 2 classes a week, the rest sometimes just once or twice a month
- Some classes will jalan anytime with at least 10 students. Max capacity ranges from 30-50 pax per class.
- Prices range between RM120 to RM318 (although this expensive one covers retaking the test if you fail whee!)
- 1 centre stated they would not be providing the training for PSV licenses
So we took this information and did some quick math based on optimum conditions. We’re assuming
- On average, each class has maxed-out capacity at 50 pax
- Each centre on average doing 5 classes a month.
211 trainers x 5 days a month x 50 drivers = 52,750 drivers per month
Keep in mind that this is an ideal scenario where every class is full, which is particularly difficult for part-time drivers who need to take time off work to attend the week-day only classes. The centres we called still have vacancies for their May classes, although general take-up seems to be quite good. But even with our best possible scenario math, , only HALF of the 300,000 e-hailing drivers in Malaysia would qualify in time.
Also keep in mind that this is just training, not including the test. So that’s drivers… what about the cars?
Out of 200,000 vehicles, only 35 have come in for inspection
Ok la this one also a Malaysian problem. So basically, if you put deadline July 2019, only in July will people start panicking. According to PUSPAKOM, 200,000 of them will need inspection by the July 2019 deadline. This is for cars older than 3 years that need to be checked for roadworthiness. So far how many have been sent for inspection?
And this figure would be legit since it comes from PUSPAKOM themselves. However, PUSPAKOM has done everything in its power to help move these figures along, including 56 permanent inspection centres, over 30 vehicle inspection visiting sites AND some very cool mobile test units. Check this out wei!
While Michael Bay could make it a bit faster, we reckon it’s super impressive. On top of this, 19 PUSPAKOM branches are now open 7 days a week with some extending their operational time by an extra two hours a day to cater to the needs of e-hailing service drivers. So gaiz, get off your butts! FAITITITIT!
Anthony Loke is stuck between a rock and a hard place, with much to do
So it’s important to note that taxi drivers are pressuring Anthony Loke into ensuring a level playing ground, while at the same time, e-hailing drivers are threatening to quit in light of the PSV licensing.
““All these complaints are simply premature. Nobody knows how many drivers will stay and how many will opt out,” Anthony Lok to The Sun, April 19 2019
At the end of the day, a PSV license really isn’t a bad thing. Aside from providing a level playing field with cab drivers who ALREADY have such requirements and have paid for them, it also ensures that e-hailing drivers are equipped with the right skill sets, that there are clear personal details to go after errant drivers, and also that their rides are roadworthy enough not to strand you 2km away from KLIA when you have a flight to catch.
As far as communications go, a survey recently indicated that Anthony Loke was only second to Tun M himself in communication. However with regards to e-hailing, the main issue here is the ‘one-year grace period’ which he mentioned last year when he announced the PSV requirement.
“Don’t give us excuses that it’s hard. We’re making it very easy. If you’re earning a few thousand ringgit and you are not willing to gofor a few hours for a PSV course and spend one, two hundred ringgit for that licence, there is no excuse for that”- Anthony Loke to SoyaCincau, Dec 2018
We reached out to Anthony Loke’s press secretary, who acknowledged our request for comment but didn’t reply after (it’s been 7 days).
Up until April 2019, no driver could get their hands on a PSV (although they can get their medical and car checkup first). If you’re an e-hailing driver and have experience to share, please let us know in the comments below. But for the period of the next 3 months… the last minute scramble to not be an illegal e-hailing driver might be anything but graceful.