In the face of public backlash from disgruntled users, Grab and other e-hailing services have been called out by the Transport Ministry to explain recent price hikes.
Once touted as a feasible means of transport alternative to ownership of a personal vehicle, e-hailing services (but let’s be honest, it’s mainly Grab) have been under fire recently for their excessive high prices to the point that usage of metered taxis have spiked.
It’s been an open secret that e-hailing service Grab has been hiking up prices both for peak hour and non-peak hour rides, making any of us think twice about using them to get from A to B, even in a pinch. This same concern was raised ad nauseam when the Singapore-based company bought out rival Uber’s Southeast Asian business.
Free from having to wage a price war against their primary competitor, Grab has evidently been executing a plan to squeeze as much out of their users as possible. The Transport Ministry has likely caught wind of this, as we have, at a much earlier date, but have now officially requested an explanation.
According to Bernama, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, through the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) said: “A fare increase from RM20 to RM70 in the current situation is certainly a burden to the people, so I think as a policymaker, we will see if any party is taking advantage to make a profit. I’ve asked APAD to review, and to ask the companies to explain what really happened,”
“In a day or two, I expect them to give an explanation so that we can see in terms of what we should do and whether to encourage more competition.”
Reportedly service fares have increased by up to 400 percent during peak hours in addition to the steady increase in base journey pricing. This has fuelled persistent discontent among the Malaysian public, who have called for government intervention.
Wee added that the Ministry will not tolerate any company found to be taking advantage of the increased movement post-MCO by increasing fares or those seeking blind profit through cut-throat pricing that burdens the people.
It’s unclear at this point if APAD or the MOT has any real authority to render upon such services that operate as for-profit businesses. It ultimately falls onto the e-hailing users themselves to vote with our own wallets.