No way out for Uber drivers

05 Oct 2015 / 08:29 H.

PETALING JAYA: Private car owners whose vehicles have been identified by the authorities for offering Uber services may not be able to renew the road tax in the end.
It is learned that Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has found a formula to nab private car owners or drivers offering the illegal taxi services via the mobile app Uber, without having to resort to undercover special operations.
"For example, after a certain private car has been identified from the digital log in the Uber app alongside solid evidence of video and photo of their operations, the authority will then send out a notice to the car owner to attend an 'interview' with the SPAD enforcement division," a government source told theSun.
The notice under the Section 225 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010 requires car owners or drivers to assist in investigations of the alleged offence under Section 16 of the Act.
"They are also required to bring along the alleged cars for inspection," he said, adding that the cars may be subjected to seizure and confiscation for violating the Act.
Asked on the scenario if the owner ignores the notice or fails to bring the said car for the interview, the source said: "SPAD will send out another notice and if there is still no response, SPAD will utilise all available channels to locate the private vehicle."
Described as a lose-lose situation for Uber drivers, the source said the owners may evade for a while, “but it is a matter of time before their cars are impounded”.
This includes coordination with Road Transport Department (RTD) to blacklist the vehicle from renewing the road tax until the owner surrenders the vehicle.
"SPAD is using the same method that police employ to get traffic offenders to settle outstanding summonses," the source added.
When contacted, a senior SPAD official confirmed the latest approach.
When asked for an explanation as to why this method is specifically used against Uber drivers, he said: "This is due to the limitation in using the credit cards for Uber. Once a driver is nabbed, Uber will immediately blacklist the credit card of the passenger. This hampers our operations to nab more Uber drivers. But we will also apply this method for GrabCar soon.”
SPAD has impounded 145 private cars, including 44 Uber and 97 GrabCar vehicles, since October last year for offering illegal taxi services.

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