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Cabbies worry over their income

by loshana k. shagar

KUALALUMPUR:TaxidriverRozelinaMahadi,58,hasgonethroughsomeverytoughtimes,strugglingto
bringfoodtothetablewhilesinglehandedlycaringforherthreechildren.
Forthepast18years,thesinglemothermanagedtomakeendsmeet,thankstothemultitudeof
passengershailinghertaxitogoabouttheirbusinessinthecity.
Now,however,Rozelinaisworriedaboutwhethershecanearnenoughasataxidriverasurbanitesare
optingforridesharingservicessuchasUberandGrabCar.
Onaverage,IspendRM65adayontaxirentalandRM21adayonfuel.Ithenwaitforpassengersata
hotspotinthecitylikePavilionKLorSuriaKLCC.
Iseepeoplewalkoutofthemallsbutinsteadofcomingtometheytapontheirmobilephonescreens
andinacoupleofminutesacarpicksthemup.
Ifeellikeafoolforwaitingsolongoutsidetheseplaceswhenmypotentialpassengerspreferrideshare
servicesthatarenotevenlegaltobeginwith,shesaid.

Her livelihood: Rozelina getting into her taxi to start her rounds around Kuala Lumpur.
RidesharingappssuchasUberandGrabCarallowpassengerstohailordinarycars,andunliketaxi
drivers,thedriversoftheseordinarycarsneednothaveapublicdriverslicence.
Theirlowerfareshavemadethemextremelypopularamongcityfolk,thusdentingincomesoftaxidrivers
whoalsohavetobearwiththeescalatingcostsofowning,rentinganddrivingtaxis.
Becauseofthis,moreandmoretaxidriversaremovingtoUberandGrabCar,andwhileRozelina
admittedtohavegivenitthought,sheeventuallydecidedtostayput.
Iheardofsomeonewhojoinedonesuchcompanyandwhenshediedafewyearslater,theeight
childrensheleftbehindreceivednothingbecauseshedidnothaveinsuranceoranyformofgovernment
aid.
Oneofmychildrenisinpoorhealthwhiletheyoungestoneisstillstudying,andGodforbid,ifsomething
happenstome,therehastobesomeformoffinancialreliefforthem,shesaid,tearswellinginhereyes.
Manyothertaxidriversarealsofacingsimilarworries,accordingtoKlangValleyTaxiDriversAction
CommitteepresidentZailaniIsaUsuluddin.
Ridesharingservicesareillegalbecausecompaniesareusingprivatevehiclesforpublictransportation,
andthereisnolawtoregulatethem,unlikethecurrenttaxicompaniesandtheirdrivers.
Ontopofthis,wealsohavetocontendwithbeingchargedtheGoodsandServicesTaxbytaxi
companiesaswellasapossibleriseinthepriceofnaturalgasvehiclesstartingSept20,hesaidata
pressconference.
Zailanisaidtheactioncommittee,whichcomprises22taxigroupsrepresentingabout3,000drivers,had
submittedmemorandatovariousauthorities,includingtheLandPublicTransportCommissionandthe
PrimeMinistersDepartment,buttonoavail.

Ourlastditcheffortwillbetotakeourgrievancestocourtbecausewearetiredofwaitingforauthorities
toprotectourwelfareandtakeactionagainsttheseillegalservices.
Bytakingthemattertocourt,wehopetofindasolutionfortheissueonceandforall,headded.