SPAD to issue 30,000 individual taxi licences to cabbies in next 5 years

Kalbana Perimbanayagam

PETALING JAYA: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has began awarding individual taxi licences to qualified taxi drivers who have completed their lease (pajak) contracts.

It expects to issue at least 30,000 individual taxi licences for taxi drivers who are currently using the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence in the next five years, to improve their welfare and provide an even playing field with other taxi services such as Uber and GrabCar, that are the main competitors now.

Today, 300 taxi drivers received their individual taxi licences, which was part of the first batch of applications processed from a total of 3,007 submissions they received since August.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar said the recipients also received RM5,000 cash grant to facilitate the purchase of a new vehicles.

“The cash grant is part of RM 150 million allocated by the government for taxi drivers who qualified for the individual taxi licence under the Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP).

This allocate from the 2017 Budget showed the government’s commitment to creating a progressive Malaysian taxi industry,” he said after presenting the grants at Persada PLUS in Subang during in the first issuing of individual taxi licences ceremony yesterday.

He said taxi drivers using lease (pajak contract) taxis could now opt to buy their own thus they should make use of the opportunity.

“We understand that regular taxis are facing tight competition with the existence of e-hailing cabs such as GrabCar and Uber and also the new train systems in place. But in today’s world you cannot avoid competition and instead must improve on the services provided and level themselves on par to compete with the rest. And this is what we are trying to do for our cabbies.”

Hamid said drivers driving lease taxis were among those affected because they had to pay high daily rental for the taxis.

Starting April 1, he said vehicle models will be liberalised to enable wider and more competitively priced car options for licence holders.

”Comfortable, convenient, friendly drivers and reasonable pricing are the basic quality most passengers seek from a taxi ride. So, having considered their grouses on the condition. Of lease taxi and rental, we came up with this grant and individual licences in an effort to help them get started. Now with the grant they are free to purchase any new car to be converted into a taxi.”

He said hopefully through this initiative they hoped to see more taxi drivers using new vehicles and benefiting from it.