Will taxi fares settle at RM4?

TRANSIT took note of this article today, Cabbies want RM4 base fare

KUALA LUMPUR: Luxury cab owners want a RM2 cut in starting fares while budget taxis are demanding their starting fares be increased by a similar amount.

Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operators Association president Datuk Aslah Abdullah said Malaysians were becoming thrifty in their spending and were turning away from luxury taxis.

“We are suffering. We want the government to amend our licence and tweak the meters so that we can start charging less.”

Aslah said operators had reported a 30 per cent drop in the number of customers since the middle of last year.

Amazing, is it not? A group of taxi drivers that actually want to reduce fares? While the budget taxi operators are asking for an increase in the base fare from RM2 to RM4, the luxury taxi operators are actually asking for a decrease – from RM6 to RM4.

Interestingly enough, RM4 also happens to be the base price for the Teksi Premier – a service that, for some reason is only operated by one company, Uptown Ace.

We find this very amusing because as passengers we would certainly choose a luxury taxi over a taxi premier or budget taxi – especially if they were all priced at RM4.

An Alternative Proposal

It is doubly amusing because 2 years ago Moaz from TRANSIT wrote that the CVLB should get rid of the 3 different taxi services with the 3 different base fares. Instead, there would be one class of taxi, providing two different types of service – by meter or by coupon.

The metered taxi service would have a base fare of RM4 and could be picked up at taxi stands or on the street, or be pre-booked or called up.

The metered taxi service would be supplemented by a coupon taxi service that would operate out of transport hubs like LRT stations, malls and hypermarkets, office buildings, local housing estates, etc.

The coupon taxi service and hubs would be managed by the local authority to improve accountability. Fares would be set through agreements with the local authority and operators and users.

Having only two types of taxis, Metered and Coupon, would increase the quality of taxi service and decrease the number of problems within the industry. It would reduce the number of rogue taxi drivers and increase accountability across the system.

One Bus Fares

According to the reports, bus fares may see an increase soon because the last increase was 4 years ago. And in that time, petrol and diesel prices have increased and so have many of the parts and operations costs that bus and taxi operators have to pay. Of course, petrol and diesel prices have gone down in recent months but that does not seem to have made a difference to the bus operators in their request for a 100% increase in fares.

We at TRANSIT believe that bus & taxi fares must be reasonable and tied to a reasonable level of service. If bus & taxi operators want more money they have to meet our expectations as the users – and fulfill a few promises:

TRANSIT expects that taxis will:

  • Use the meter or legal coupon system
  • Not refuse fares
  • Have properly maintained taxis
  • Use larger cars such as the Proton Perdana or Proton Waja or Nissan Sentra for the longer-distance Metered taxi service
  • Use larger cars or taller cars (an expanded MyVi would make an excellent taxi cab) or vans for the shorter-distance Coupon taxi service
  • Not tint the windows to extremely dark levels that violate JPJ regulations – not the mention our feelings of safety
  • Ensure that only a company employee or permit owner drives a taxi
  • Not park illegally at the roadside or block roads

TRANSIT also expects that bus drivers will:

  • Stop using the illegal ‘pajak’ system – Hire employees and pay them a reasonable wage
  • Not park illegally by the roadside or block roads
  • Not sit with engine and air conditioning running
  • Switch urban buses to CNG or hybrid operations
  • Introduce the Touch N Go system for the buses
  • Make public your ‘blacklist’ of undesirable, dangerous drivers
  • Make public your ”blacklist’ of companies that hire dangerous drivers, use the ‘pajak’ system, overwork their drivers, or use unsafe buses
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