Homegrown motorcycle taxi service Dego Ride looking forward to competing with Go-Jek, Grab

Ida Lim
Motorcycle taxi service Dego Ride founder Nabil Feisal Bhamadhaj believes the home-grown brand can co-exist with and complement bigger players Go-Jek and Grab. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Malaysia’s own motorcycle taxi service Dego Ride says it is looking forward to compete with Indonesia’s Go-Jek and Singapore’s Grab, following Putrajaya’s agreement in principle to allow such services here. 

Dego Ride was banned from ferrying passengers in 2017 but founder and CEO Nabil Feisal Bhamadhaj thinks his company will complement both Go-Jek and Grab.

“The potential competition from Grab and Go-Jek is real. However, we have our core competencies that are different from what Go-Jek and Grab can offer and we hope that our core competencies can be complementary to both of them, I don’t believe in competition where we all fight against each other until the last one dies,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.

Acknowledging that Dego Ride is the “smallest player” compared to Indonesia-based Go-Jek and Grab which is headquartered in Singapore, Nabil points out that his company has been able to “survive” since 2016...despite the ban.

Following the ban, Dego continued providing delivery, courier, and logistics solutions using motorcycles.

“So after the ban, we just focused on providing transport and logistics and delivery, courier services, and that’s become one of our core competencies and from there we intend to provide more income opportunities to our riders and customers,” he said.

In late 2016, Nabil’s company Dego launched Dego Ride, pioneering the motorcycle ride-sharing concept — a model which had been used in other countries by Grab via GrabBike and Go-Jek.

But in 2017, the Najib administration banned Dego Ride, citing statistics showing motorcyclists have a higher risk of being involved in fatal road accidents compared to cars and buses.

Under the Pakatan Harapan government, the Transport Ministery said in September 2018 that it would not legalise motorcycle taxi services such as Dego Ride due to road accident statistics.

However, the new Mahathir Cabinet said this week that it has agreed “in principle” to allowing such services.

Dego Ride services have resumed following the government’s latest announcement. Its founder is eyeing first-mover advantage for motorcycle taxi services. — Picture via Facebook/degomalaysia

With the latest development, Nabil told Malay Mail that Dego “will be resuming taxi services immediately.”

“We have already reactivated our services and our riders are all in the know already... We have already started,” he said, confirming that the service is available in the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Baru and other smaller cities and towns.

Nabil said Dego had been engaging with the government since 2016, adding that the company is planning to send a proposal paper on Dego Ride to the Transport Ministry and Youth and Sports Ministry as part of the formalising process.

“But at the same time the services will go on, thereby allowing us to always have first-mover advantage in terms of data and reach with the government as well,” he said.

Commenting on the government’s statements from 2016 until now on motorcycle ride-sharing services, Nabil describes it as a “learning process” for everyone that has been a “fruitful one” which he said will all translate to a better economy and positive social impact.

Dego Ride is currently limited to trips of a maximum three kilometres to ensure safety and at the price of RM3; the service can be accessed via www.degoapp.com or through its Dego mobile app.

Indonesia-based Go-Jek had recently shown interest in expanding its services to Malaysia, while Singapore-based Grab — following the Cabinet announcement — sought Malaysians’ opinion on the idea of introducing its GrabBike service, which is available in a few neighbouring countries, to Malaysia.

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