Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Taxi ‘Thugs’ Charging RM100 for a Taxi Ride to City Centre

PUTRAJAYA: Seventeen taxi drivers who had conducted themselves like "gangsters" near the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur have been traced and identified.

The Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) said they were traced through their taxi registration numbers.

In a statement yesterday, it urged the taxi owners and operators concerned to come to the CVLB office here for verification within 14 days.

"They must come together with the taxi drivers and must bring their licence or permits, and taxi driver card."

The CVLB action followed numerous complaints that some taxi drivers
around the Petronas Twin Towers were rude to passengers and tourists and had charged excessive fares.

The statement said CVLB would also inform the Road Transport Department (RTD) about the poor record of the drivers so that their Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licences would be cancelled or suspended.

"CVLB will not hesitate to cancel or suspend taxi licences if our investigation shows that there were drivers who acted like gangsters when dealing with passengers," the statement said.

It urged taxi owners and operators to be more responsible, proactive and get to know the behaviour of their taxi drivers.

"CVLB views this matter seriously. It is shameful and regrettable.

"The actions of a few will make others look bad as well," the statement added.

Meanwhile, Road Transport Department personnel will go undercover to nab errant taxi drivers and touts.

Newly-appointed RTD enforcement director Salim Parlan said a special squad would be formed by the end of this month.

"It is all out war against them because the operations will be carried out throughout the year.

"The usual seasonal operations will be replaced with intensive undercover operations due to this year’s Visit Malaysia Year campaign.

"Millions will be entering the country and these irresponsible people are giving the country a bad image," he said.

The enforcement officers will be stationed at tourist spots in KLCC, Puduraya, the Low Cost Carrier Terminal and KLIA.

Salim, who was previously Perak RTD director, said about 30 organised touts were operating at LCCT and KLIA. "They are very smart. During our seasonal operations, they have people stationed at strategic spots to detect us."

He said the touts charged passengers, especially foreigners, RM100 to RM120 for a taxi ride to the city centre instead of the usual rate of RM60 to RM70.

"To stop such acts, the department last month placed enforcement officers at some of these areas from 6am to midnight daily.

"Since then, the number of complaints has dropped."

He said many taxi drivers had been summoned for tampering with the meters, refusing to take passengers, overcharging and for not using meters.

"We are in the midst of locating workshops that are experts in tampering with taxi meters," he said.

The department last year issued some 6,700 summonses, including 445 to taxi drivers for refusing to use meters and 133 for refusing to pick up passengers. Eight summonses were issued for overcharging.

In the first two months of this year, the department issued 151 summonses for overcharging, 46 for not using meters and seven for refusing to pick up passengers.

Source : NST
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