Taxi: ‘New’ CVLB rules to clean up taxi service

TRANSIT takes note of two articles in the Star newspaper highlighting the new CVLB rules & expectations for taxi drivers.

CVLB introduces new rules to clean-up KL taxis (The Star)
Thursday March 25, 2010
Stories by PRIYA MENON and VISHALENE SIVARAMAN

metro@thestar.com.my

TAXIS in Kuala Lumpur have begun sporting big ‘No Haggling’ stickers on the sides of their doors as part of new rulings imposed by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB).

[TRANSIT: Please note that these are not ‘new rulings’ as the article describes. They have been in place for a long time, but they have been ignored for an equally long time!]

The rulings, which are aimed at improving the services of taxis, also include the mandatory issuance of receipts to all passengers and list down a variety of compoundable offences.

The move comes after complaints continued to flow that taxi drivers were fleecing customers in spite of a hike in metered fares.

StarMetro team recently took to the streets to see if the new rulings have had any effect on the situation.

Tightening the reins: Under the new rules, taxi drivers will no longer be able to turn away customers and they are also required to provide receipts for fares tabulated by the meters. Image courtesy of The Star

[TRANSIT: Has anyone noticed that the additional stickers are making KL taxies look even uglier than ever? And why should a “No Haggling” sticker even be necessary? Shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone?]

Four out of six taxis we hopped into used the meter without being asked to and the drivers insisted that they had always done so.

[TRANSIT: 4 out of 6. That is sad!]

Our journey began at Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, where we hopped into a taxi to the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) station in Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin.

The cab was driven by Ng Hong Foh, 62, who has been driving his taxi for five years.

“Some of the other drivers used to reprimand me for using the meter but I would not feel that I’ve earned an honest wage if I cheated my passengers,” Ng said.

Ng paid RM8 for the ‘No Haggling’ stickers outside his door and another RM8 for the list of offences.

[TRANSIT: WHAT????? Why are the drivers paying for these stickers? Is the CVLB so poor that it cannot include the stickers as part of the permit that taxi drivers receive? Shouldn’t the stickers be free????]

From the KTMB station, we ventured to Bukit Bintang and proceeded to KLCC from there. Both these areas are hotspots noted for pricey taxi fares but, this time around, the drivers also used the meter.

Our joy was shortlived when we met a driver Muru (not his real name) who charged us a flat rate of RM15 to Petaling Street despite sporting the ‘No Haggling’ sign.

Muru was parked along the road and insisted that all the taxis charged the same rate or perhaps higher.

“I’m charging you a cheaper rate, the others would probably charge you RM20 or more,” he claimed.

According to him, he is left with little choice as the monthly payment and maintenance of a rented taxi costs about RM1,500.

“Those who have their own taxis can afford to use the meter but people like us have to make ends meet,” Muru said.

To make matters worse, he said he would be returning empty-handed from Petaling Street as there was an alleged turf barrier.

[TRANSIT: We think they mean ‘turf war’]

He claimed that some taxi drivers had conquered certain locations within the city and other taxis were not allowed to poach passengers.

At the Chempaka LRT station, a group of taxi drivers had banded together in an attempt to rake in unreasonable profits by ignoring the meters.

The drivers divide passengers among themselves based on their destinations. One taxi driver charged RM4 per head for three people to a destination where the metered rate would cost RM4.50.

New rulings have seen positive changes in attitudes, taxi associations say (The Star)

THE taxi associations say they have seen positive results in drivers’ attitudes since the new rulings were introduced.

[TRANSIT: Of course they would say that.]

According to the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor’s Taxi Drivers’ Welfare Association’s S. Augustine, a survey showed that 70% of the drivers had started using the meter.

[TRANSIT: What do public transport users have to say? Are you also seeing a 70% compliance?]

“Since the guidelines were introduced, members of the public have become more aware of their rights and insist the drivers use the meter,” he said.

When asked for the reason behind those who didn’t use the meter, Augustine said many of the drivers were forced to pay a hefty monthly rental to their companies.

“These people have no benefits as most of it goes to their company and the company makes the profit. This is why they resort to fixing the rates,” he added.

[TRANSIT: So, the truth comes out – rent seeking companies taking advantage of the drivers? So why don’t the Associations band together and stop the practice? Maybe because the rent-seeking companies are involved with rent-seeking politicians?]

Augustine believed the problem could be solved if more individual permits were given out. He said by doing so, they would only have to pay RM400 a month to the banks.

“Their costs would be reduced to only 50% and that would give them more leverage in the matter. This would definitely reduce the number of taxi drivers who do not use the meter,” Augustine said.

Meanwhile, CVLB director Datin Naimah Ramli said the number of complaints under the CVLB Act 334 had increased from 171 in Nov to Dec 2009 to 190 from Jan to Feb 2010. The offences carry a maximum fine of RM300.

“There has been an 11% increase but this could be because many passengers are excited about the campaign and are eager to play a part now,” Naimah added.

[TRANSIT: What say you, public transport users? Are you excited and eager to play a part?]

However, she said it was still too early to determine if the campaign was working.

“We are carrying out on-going operations but the people’s feedback is important. We urge members of the public to come forward and lodge their complaints,” Naimah said.

She said the public could not rely on CVLB officers alone as one officer sometimes had to keep track of 100 taxi drivers.

“We do not divulge informants details so the public need not worry. They should also play a role in this.

“We have 31,000 taxis in operation and we can’t keep tabs on all of them at the same time,” she added.

[TRANSIT: But you could certainly call for more officers to help make a difference.]

Among the list of common offences are:

  1. Not using the meter
  2. Extra charges above metered rates
  3. Haggling for fare
  4. Refusing to take passengers to desired destination
  5. Using longer, more time-consuming routes to passengers’ desired destination.

TRANSIT Says:

The above set of articles from The Star hasa great deal of interesting information. It is nice to see that, as more attention is being paid to matters like public transport, more information is finally coming to light.

There is not much that can be done about rent-seeking politicians and greedy people – but the public can help improve public transport and taxi service by giving feedback and not giving up until the system is improved.

If you have a complaint about taxi service, please call the CVLB Hotline at 1-800-88-96-00 IMMEDIATELY – don’t wait until it is too late.

Try to have the following information at hand when you call.

  1. Date
  2. Time
  3. Location
  4. Registration Number of taxi
  5. Nature of Offence (e.g. refusing to take passenger, refusing to use meter, smoking in taxi, etc.)

You can also send the above information to MySMS at 15888 – just remember to start your SMS with ADUAN LPKP

TRANSIT invites you to comment on the rulings and the improvements to taxi service in the Klang Valley. Let’s be fair and celebrate the improvements and the good drivers, and identify the recalcitrant, stubborn drivers and do what we can to get rid of them.

Please comment below, at twitter.com/transitmy (@transitmy) or by email at klangvalley.transit@gmail.com. Thank you in advance!

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14 thoughts on “Taxi: ‘New’ CVLB rules to clean up taxi service”

  1. Since the fare hike, I now have 99% chances to have a metered taxi in the morning. Granted the journey is short (from Changkat Raja Chulan to 86 Jalan Ampang), but at least the taxi drivers play fair.
    I was also surprised to have a metered taxi waiting in a teksi perhentian near Bangsar Village II…
    However Bukit Bintang area is still problematic.
    I build my own statistics everyday by writing down the taxi plate, if the driver displays his ID, if meter is used and the taxi condition. The results are very much encouraging!
    BTW I tried to SMS the Aduan LPKP two or three weeks ago and the service never worked (“Service unavailable, please retry later”).

    1. Hi Florian

      Thanks very much for the information. Would you be kind enough to share your statistics with us? We would be happy to feature your efforts on the TRANSIT website. Send an email to klangvalley.transit@gmail.com.

      Regarding the ADUAN LPKP we had similar problems the last time we sent an SMS. It could be a short term error or something longer term. TRANSIT is now recommending that people call the hotline, 1800-88-96-00 which is supposed to be 24 hours by the end of March.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  2. Dear TRANSIT,

    Thanks so much for the relentless efforts in trying to lobby for better public transportation.

    The articles on taxi issues, however, miss out on the part where the taxi drivers are most aggressive, borderline criminal: with foreigners and tourists.
    I happen to be an expat living in Malaysia and have “fair skin”. It is simply IMPOSSIBLE for to me get a metered taxi from KLCC, Bukit Bintang, even KL Sentral.

    I do not know if I should file a police report, but 3 days ago, at KLCC, under the eyes of the useless security personnel (who are in bed with the taxi drivers it seems), an Iranian woman was made to cry by a big burly taxi driver who starting shouting at her and kicked her out of the taxi cab for refusing to pay RM20 to the Impiana Hotel (a 5mn drive mind you!). I helped her out and gave her the CVLB Hotline for complaints: of course, we had to call 3 times before having someone who understood some english and we finally abandoned.
    I verbally reprimanded the Security guard for not even helping the tourist.

    I live in the KLCC area and I see such horrors everyday. The security guards spit on the floor, stare at women and don’t do their job in shoeing away the rude and aggressive drivers. I see horrors at KLCC everyday.
    Maybe the Star and CVLB should hire a “european” looking person and then see gangsterism that happens. It’s total disgrace and shame, especially in a country which supposedly want to boost tourism.

    I am in no way exaggerating what I see at KLCC everyday and it amounts to no less than mafia-type ventures where taxis corner tourists, tout them, aggressively harass them.
    I have many, many, many horrifying stories of taxis when my friends came over from the US to visit me and I would be more than glad to share them with TRANSIT.

    Kindest regards,
    Salem

    1. Sirimusa

      Thank you for the information. TRANSIT would be happy if you share this information about your experiences with us, and we will definitely forward your reports to the media & CVLB as well as the people responsible for SPAD. Please email us the details at klangvalley.transit@gmail.com.

      We believe that the issues with the taxi service must be resolved soon as they will cause trouble for Malaysia’s economy and tourism industry, among others.

      Regards,

      Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. JB taxi drivers go wherever the passenger wants, no arguments. They turn the meter on, no arguments. They go straight to the destination, no arguments. And I’m French so they know I’m foreign and might even be from Singapore.

    I’m not. I live in KL. And in almost ten years, I’ve hardly ever had a taxi driver take me to where I want to go at the correct fare.

    If JB can make this change then so can KL, Melacca, Penang, Kuching and all the other places where the taxi drivers are bandits.

    1. Jeff

      Thanks for the comments.

      Do add the CVLB hotline 1-800-88-96-00 and MySMS 15888 to your phone address book and complain away the next time you have problems with errant taxi drivers anywhere in Malaysia.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  4. Try going to Sunway university where ALL cabbies there charge flat rates to all destinations (not a single one uses the meter there) and it seems all the students there take it as a norm because when they complain no one seems to listen

    1. Cherlyn

      Thanks for your comment. TRANSIT is working to give local government more power over the taxi industry so fares can be under control.

      We are also trying to get RapidKL’s 623 bus to service Sunway directly instead of Sunway & Subang Jaya – so the bus would go to Sunway UC and Taylor’s UC campuses.

      Another thing that we will try to do is push Sunway to expand their shuttle bus service so the 20 minute frequency becomes 15 minutes or even 10 minutes

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  5. I would have a monthly contract with your company to serve my famiy. we will stay at Selangor-Kelana Jaya for one year.

    service type will be the taxi under call with i hour notice to pick up my family members 6 pax within selangor, KL.
    May I have your service system. how much deposite should remit in your account in monthly basis.

    1. TRANSIT is a citizen’s group working to improve public transport in Malaysia. We do not provide transportation services. However, if you are looking for a regular taxi service, we might be able to help you by putting you into contact with some taxi drivers we know.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  6. October 28, 2010, around 8.00am.
    A group of taxis with “No Haggling” stickers, offered RM7 to a destination which is just 1KM far. None of them use the meter.
    Then, when I said they are supposed to use the meter as there are “NO HAGGLING” stickers on their car doors, they insisted to charge the flat rate at RM7 for such a short distance. And, they challenging us and shouting that there is a hotline number we can make complains. Seriously this isn’t right, they took our photos when we walked away.

    According to residents nearby, they made lots of complains but never got any replies nor improved the taxi service.

    Shall I call to the hotlink to make complains since the respond from the CVLB is bad?

    Thank you.

    1. @Kar Hooi

      Thanks very much for the information.

      We find it interesting that the taxi drivers took photos – this is a clear intimidation tactic and should not be accepted. Their taking photos suggests that shouting and arguing is no longer working for them, so they are moving on to other intimidation tactics.

      This is actually a good thing – it means that they are feeling the pressure – and we need to keep the pressure up!

      Remember to note down taxi registration numbers (even if it is in your head) whenever you have a disagreement (you should not even wait for it to escalate to a “dispute”). We suggest that you send the details of the incident to the following groups:

      • CVLB / SPAD hotline
      • SPAD (at their aduan email address, posted permanently at the left side of our webpage
      • Your MP, ADUN and local councillor
      • All of the local newspapers
      • The taxi operating company (if there is one)

      And yes, And tell them all that TRANSIT told you to do so…because the message should be read loud and clear – the public is not going to take the harassment and intimidation from those taxi drivers who choose to flout regulations.

      If you do not get results within one week, do contact us again and we will send you some other email addresses to send your complaints to.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  7. Hello Transit,It is still the same situation.These taxi drivers are hooligans to make quick money.They are everywhere.The stickers are for show.You can see them at KJ LRT Station,Carefore Subang Jaya queing….everywhere.Last Thursday 10/3/2011 about 0750pm taxi no HWD3929 Proton Saga asked me for RM15 to take me to USJ 2 which by meter merely cost RM7-8.The authorities should do the following : have two category of taxi – one with meter & the other without meter.Secondly issue coupon system like KLCC,Summit & KL Central.But dontlah charge that high to manage the coupon system…Like KLCC flat rate RM2 extra.Thirdly strict enforcement ie permit removal upon any complaint from consumer.

    Secondly why 70-80 % taxis in KL are all SMELLY,DIRTY and not ROADWORTHY?

    1. @Imam Muda

      Thank you for your comment about the taxis. We certainly agree that there is a lot of improvement needed in the taxi industry and we have expressed to SPAD that changes are needed.

      In regards to your suggestion of two types of taxis, we have forwarded our own proposal for “teksi bermeter” (for roving taxis) & “teksi berkupon” for standing taxis. Teksi berkupon would be administered by local councils, local public transport authorities and private entities (in the case of shopping malls). However, the taxi rates would be determined by SPAD in consultation with the authority and the public.

      Kereta Sewa permit owners would be given the option of taking on a teksi bermeter or teksi berkupon permit.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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