Malaysiakini KiniGuide

Ride-hailing services - are they safe?

KiniGuide  |  Published:  |  Modified:

KINIGUIDE The popularity of ride-share services, such as Uber and Grabcar, was affirmed last month when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak urged Malaysians in the bottom 40 percent income bracket sign up as drivers, after work, to earn extra bucks.

The service is often touted as a more efficient, safer service compared with taxis. However, recent complaints of sexual assaults on users of the service by drivers have raised concerns.

Taxi firms have also warned that the ride-share service puts passenger safety in jeopardy, claiming the drivers do not go through stringent background checks.

Malaysiakini takes a closer look at the processes for one to get started as a ride-share driver, and the screening processes in place.

How do I sign up as a driver?

As the first step, get a smart phone. Depending on whether it is an iOS or Android phone, enter the Apple Store or Google Playstore to download the Uber or the Grab applications.

Download, done. What now?

The homegrown application, Grab, requires potential drivers to fill up an online registration form accessible either via its website or on the mobile application.

This is the primary identification section to indicate one's interest as a potential driver.

There is also an option to state the individual's preference to sign up as a Grabcar, Grabhitch or Grabtaxi driver.

The process starts through submission of photographs of three documents - MyKad, a valid driving licence and the cover of an insurance cover note.

Drivers must also show that their vehicles were manufactured in 2008 or later, and be a mid-size or full-size sedan that comfortably seats four to eight people.

Are these conditions that easy?

Not exactly. There is a screening process for both drivers and their cars.

Both Uber and Grab have similar requirements before drivers and their cars can be accepted as part of their respective fleets.

What do they check?

Aside from the mandatory valid driving licence, Grab requires its drivers to pass a Road Transport Department and PDRM summons check.

According to one of its online guides for drivers, they also need to have acceptable grooming ethics and be able to communicate in English and Bahasa Malaysia.

This is on top of internal background checks by the company on other past offences of the applicants.

Similarly, Uber checks applicants for outstanding summons and if he/she has been convicted of a crime in the past 20 years.

It also works with government-certified third party agencies to conduct checks and practises a "zero tolerance policy" for past offences...

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