It’s official — Malaysia has banned motorcycle taxi service Dego Ride due to safety concerns.
In a Parliamentary reply, the transport ministry cited statistics from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research saying that motorcyclists are 42.5 times more likely to meet fatal accidents compared to a bus. The fatality risk is 16 times higher compared to a car.
“Using the Dego Ride service will lead to more road users being exposed to the risk of fatal accidents and serious injuries. Thus, on factors of safety of motorcyclists and pillion riders, the transport ministry decided not to allow Dego Ride operate on the roads,” the ministry reportedly said.
It may be a fatal blow to what is Malaysia’s first start-up venture into the bike ride-sharing space. In comparison, the West Bengal Transport Department this week took a starkly different approach to bike taxis — it provides safety training for the riders.
Flagged off last Thursday, the first phase of 21 bike taxis will be followed by another 29 by April. The service aims to improve last-mile connectivity in New Town and Rajarhat and every fifth bike taxi will be operated by women, the Department says.
“After considering traffic issues, we would look into the potential of introducing the same in other towns and cities,” says West Bengal transport minister Suvendu Adhikari.
The West Bengal approach illustrates a way to tackle the safety concern that Malaysia flagged in respect of Dego Ride. Providing training plus certification for services such as Dego Ride would allow for higher safety standards while bringing the ride-sharing services under regulation.
Such a training cum certification programme may even be extended to car-based ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grab as a way of alleviating similar safety concerns — ultimately a win-win for commuters.