Motorcycle ride-sharing service Dego Ride has asked the government to convey a decision on whether or not it can operate legitimately. Its CEO, Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj, said that allowing it to operate officially would bring more riders into its network, which would allow it to meet the surge in demand for the service in the Klang Valley.
He said that demand for a motorcycle-based ride-share service had grown in light of worsening road traffic in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, but the company has struggled to find riders to join because of the fear that working for Dego Ride would be illegal, the Malay Mail reports.
“As of April 2022, since the restrictions started loosening up, we saw traffic becoming worse and we saw there is an increase in demand for our service. Today, we have been struggling to cope with demand. We need more riders to support us, but the issue is that the riders were afraid to join us. They were skeptical if we are allowed or not allowed [to operate],” he said during a press conference held yesterday with Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil.
The ride-share service was banned from Malaysian roads in 2017 alongside rival Gojek, with authorities citing the high risk of accidents and death amongst motorcyclists. However, it was announced in November 2019 that both services would be allowed to operate under a six-month long trial project beginning January 2020. Then, in November last year, the government put its foot down and declared that it would not allow such services to be offered.
The company said it currently has some 500 riders on the road, which it says is insufficient to service densely populated areas in the Klang Valley like Lembah Pantai, where demands for connectivity to the nearby rail systems are high. Nabil has previously said that motorcycle ride-hailing services would appeal to those who can’t afford to pay for taxis or car-based ride-hailing services like those offered by Grab and AirAsia.
Traffic congestion in the Klang Valley has worsened in the last few months following the lifting of Covid-19 curbs, and suggestions on ways to address the issue have included motorcycle ride-hailing services, with a transport consultancy firm suggesting that such a move should be considered.
By using a more agile vehicle like the motorcycle, which can manoeuvre through heavy congestion easily, Nabil said he believes Dego Ride could be part of the solution. While lawmakers have been divided about letting motorcycles ferry people over safety concerns, Nabil said its own data from the trial run showed Dego Ride’s operation is safe, with zero fatalities reported since its began operating in 2016.
Meanwhile, Fahmi, who is supportive of the idea behind Dego Ride, suggested that policymakers conduct further engagement to fine-tune regulations that would make motorcycle ride-hailing safe instead of dismissing it outright. “If you already have that type of mobility, why not look at ways to legalise [it] and also generate tax [revenue]. I think if it’s done the right way, it can help many people,” he said.
“It’s particularly applicable at these densely populated areas where there will be a high volume of traffic at peak hours for people to travel to transit hubs. So I hope services by Dego Ride, or any type of similar public transit service provider, will be welcomed by the government and lawmakers,” he added.
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