Uber Drivers Risk Wrath Of Cops; 2 ‘Pirate Taxis’ nabbed by City Police

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Uber is a global ride-hailing service available through smartphones.
Uber is a global ride-hailing service available through smartphones.

KOTA KINABALU – Uber drivers operating in Sabah have been warned that they need a proper licence from the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) to operate.

Uber drivers, though registered online, are not legal in Sabah, stressed City police chief, Assistant Commissioner M Chandra, in announcing the arrest of two persons in police operations against illegal public transporters in the city.

ACP Chandra said the two men, a 25-year-old driving a Perodua Myvi and a 37-year-old driving a Proton Persona, were arrested in front of a shopping mall here at about 4.30pm Monday.

He said Uber drivers in Sabah are increasing although the ride sharing app has previously been declared illegal, but it continues to operate due to the difficulty in charging cases in court.

“In fact, those operating under Uber here are considered the same as pirate taxis,” he said, adding that the credibility of these drivers is not verified and the safety of passengers not guaranteed.

“We will continue to monitor any Uber activities which is considered illegal because they do not have a permit for running public transportation without the approval from the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board,” he said.

The drivers and their cars were brought to the City traffic police station for investigation under Section 33 of the CVLB Act 1987 for using a private vehicle for commercial purposes.

The two men have been released on police bail pending court order for trial.

Those found guilty face a minimum fine of RM1,000.

ACP Chandra also advised taxi drivers not to take matters into their own hands when they see Uber drivers carrying passengers.

Recently, two videos showing taxi drivers scolding Uber drivers and forcing them to get their passengers out of their vehicles here went viral on social media.

Uber, the global ride-hailing service available through smartphones started in May and has been gaining popularity in the city. It has drawn a local competitor, Grab.

The government had recently given its approval for these ride-sharing services with the proposal for the issuance of a new public service vehicle (PSV) permits called the “driver card”.