Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tough job finding honest taxi drivers

MALAYSIA may have one of the lowest taxi rates in the world - a great tourism tool to sell the country, but, paradoxically, it is this element that is also tarnishing the nation’s image.

Despite the plentiful number of taxis, getting one in the city has become a challenge. Often times, the whole affair becomes a haggling exercise that most often results in tempers flaring and customers’ stomping off in anger with threats of lodging complains with the authorities.

Abdul Jalil: Taxi drivers are always at the losing end.

And when people do lodge complaints, nothing much is done to resolve the problems, resulting in rogue cabbies getting bolder by the day.

It has been reported that the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) hotlines receive hundreds of calls daily regarding errant drivers and the bulk of it concerns taxi drivers.

CVLB chairman Datuk Markiman Kobiran keeps threatening to revoke or suspend drivers' licenses and permits if they were found to increase their rates, but he isn’t able to do much due to a lack of manpower.

However, consumers are still encouraged to be pro-active and report to CVLB’s toll free number, 1-800-88-9600, and SMS number, 39900, and hope for the best.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” Klang Valley Taxi Operators Association (PPTLK) president Abdul Jalil Maarof said.

“Taxi drivers are always at the losing end no matter what the circumstances are,” he claimed.

According to Abdul Jalil, the recent petrol hike has caused a chain reaction resulting in the price of everything from food to spare parts to go up and the drivers are suffering.

Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operations president Datuk Aslah Abdullah agrees with Abdul Jalil.

Aslah, who used to drive a taxi, blames the government for not revising taxi rates in the country.

“In the past 12 years, Singapore has raised their fares three times already. Over here, we are still waiting and, in the meantime, the drivers are breaking the law and giving the country a bad name,” he said.

Aslah said the high cost of living as well as the breakdown of the quality of life in KL due to congestion was making things worse.

KL resident Nanda K, who often relies on cabbies to get around, said it was getting increasingly difficult to find an honest taxi driver.

“Most of them quote a high rate and I would normally negotiate when I’m desperate, but when I do find one who uses the meter, I’m just simply grateful that I tip him extra anyway,” he said.

While Nanda has an option, some don’t, and that includes both consumers and cabbies. Perhaps it’s time a compromise was made, one that would benefit all parties.

Source : STAR
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KL is hostile to pedestrians. Riding a bicycle is not possible. Cars are heavily taxed and the accident rate is very high. Public transport is minimal. That leaves taxis...

I have lived in KL for over a year now and can say that the taxi service is truly terrible! I have not seen anything like it in any other country. The government needs to raise awareness, act on customer complaints, and increase fares.




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