Towing charges set to rise over subsidy cut

towing charges set to rise over subsidy cut

Driving up cost: Be prepared to pay more the next time your vehicle breaks down on the road as towing charges have increased by around 20% following the floating of diesel price. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Be prepared to pay more the next time your vehicle breaks down while on the road as towing charges have increased by around 20% following the floating of diesel price.

Yvonne Ng, who manages a towing company in Johor Baru, said the price increase was unavoidable as tow trucks were not included in the government’s list of subsidised vehicles.

“Diesel constitutes at least 40% of our operating costs. Without the diesel subsidy, our costs will significantly increase, probably by more than 50%. We haven’t raised our prices in the past five years despite rising costs of tires and motor oil,” she said.

Ng’s company operates 10 tow trucks, each consuming about RM200 worth of diesel daily. The company announced the price increase on June 10, the same day diesel prices were floated in Peninsular Malaysia.

“Our customers have been understanding so far,” she said.

“We hope the government will include tow trucks into the list of public transportation and goods vehicles in order for us to get subsidised diesel.

“Tow trucks are like ambulances for vehicles as we are helping people involved in accidents or when their vehicles break down.

“Nobody wants such mishaps to happen and now customers end up having to pay more for these services,” she added.

Motor workshop director Chu Fong Yee said that towing services ranged from RM150 to RM180 for hatchbacks and saloon cars with 1.5cc engines before the price increase.

“For vehicles with 2.0cc engines and above, the cost was RM200 to RM250 per trip, with higher prices for heavier vehicles like vans, buses, and lorries. A tow truck typically makes four to five trips daily, making diesel a vital part of the business,” she added.

Johor Trucking Association president Chai Pei Yoon said heavy vehicles such as tow trucks, tipper lorries and road rollers were not included in the list of vehicles entitled for the subsidy.

Under the Subsidised Diesel Regulation System Pilot Project (SKSD), 33 types of vehicles can enjoy continued subsidy with the use of fleet cards.

“As such, it is natural that services like tow trucks have decided to increase their prices to cover operating costs. The diesel price adds on to the existing expenses covering spare parts and tyres as well worker payments.

“As long as companies increase their prices reasonably and it is accepted by customers, the association will not stand in their way,” said Chai, adding the government should continue refining the mechanism to ease the implementation of the new policy.

According to Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali, the 33 public transport and goods companies that have obtained approval under the SKDS but have yet to receive their fleet cards from the fuel stations should keep their receipts starting June 10.

The price of diesel is retailing at RM3.35 from June 10 in Peninsular Malaysia since the price float.

This is based on the Automatic Pricing Mechanism formula for the month of May. The previous price of diesel announced on June 5 was RM2.15 per litre.

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