Dego Ride was launched in November 2016, it is basically the equivalent of Uber/Grab but for motorcycles. It is Malaysia’s first motorcycle ride-hailing service, despite being in its very early stages of inception Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport has recently issued a ban. Let’s explore the topic and determine if the ban is justified.
What Indonesia Did
The closest parallel one can draw is from our neighbours in Indonesia, where similar services offered by local start-up Go-Jek are extremely popular. Go-Jek has over 200,000 riders, when you’re in Jakarta, it’s difficult for a day to go by without coming across their signature green Go-Jek helmets zipping across the busy traffic during the rush hours. In Indonesia Go-Jek’s car-hailing service is regulated whereas the motorcycle hailing service is unregulated but not outright banned by the government. In fact what’s interesting is that while the government initially issued a ban, within less than half a day Indonesia’s president Jokowi Widodo withdrew the ban. The initial ban by the Ministry of Transport stated that the rules require public transportations to be more than 3-wheels as a reason.
Saya segera panggil Menhub. Ojek dibutuhkan rakyat. Jangan karena aturan rakyat jadi susah. Harusnya ditata -Jkw
— Joko Widodo (@jokowi) December 18, 2015
Attempted Translation: I urge the Ministry to not make the lives of our citizens tough,Ojek (Go-Jek’s Motorcycle hailing service) is needed by the people.
Why Dego Ride is Banned in Malaysia
Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai cited that it was banned because motorcycles are not an approved method of transportation to carry members of the public. Which as mentioned in the earlier part of the article is the exact same reason why it was banned in Indonesia before overturned by President Jokowi Widodo. While it’s easy to jump into conclusion that Malaysia should do the same and overturn the decision we must also put into consideration the traction of Go-Jek versus Dego Ride. At the time of the decision, Go-Jek was already wildly popular compared to Dego ride who’s still relatively new and there was huge backlash from the public when the announcement was made in Indonesia
The other reason cited was safety, let’s examine how valid this reason is. According to reports from the Malaysia Road Safety Institute (MIROS), 50.6% of road fatalities amongst registered vehicles are from motorcycles. A study published by the World Health Organisation indicates that Malaysia is amongst the top 20 countries with road fatalities in the world and is the only other Asian country in that unfortunate list along with Thailand.
Source: MIROS – Malaysia Statistics of Motorcycle Deaths
With over 3,000 deaths per year in recent times, it may seem like there’s some leg to the safety argument of a service like Dego. While Indonesia’s is not immune to motorcycle death, its percentage is only 36% compared to Malaysia’s numbers.
What’s next For Dego Ride?
Should Malaysia stick to its gun and ban Dego Ride or should it reconsider? If safety is of the main concern, are there steps that can be taken by Dego Ride to address the authorities concerns? While Dego Ride can claim that they have done thorough inspection and that passenger safety is of their paramount concern there’s really no effective way to inspect rider behaviour and this is especially important since 80% of motorcycle accidents are caused by human error according to statistics by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).
IOT has been very popular in tracking driver behaviors for overseas insurers to determine premiums, should Dego Ride consider this approach and if so would the Minister reconsider? Many questions remain unanswered but seeing that Dego Ride will be meeting the Ministry in the next 7 days, I’m sure we’ll hear more of this story