Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Folks, taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur are up in arms. They want the authorities to abolish the coupon system which is used in certain areas in KL to be abolished. ( Read the news at the bottom of this post).

Now, here’s their reasons. Apparently with the coupon system, taxi drivers earn less and… hear this… oh you must laugh at this… the coupon system burdens the consumer with higher charges ! Imagine ! taxi drivers concerned about the long suffering public. That’s like a snatch-thief after snatching the victim’s hand-bag is concerned that the victims thereafter would not have a handbag.

The truth is this. Dengan system kopon, pemandu-pemandu teksi tak boleh menipu passengers. If no kopon system, tak payah pakai meter boleh cekik darah. Pakai letak harga aje… KL to PJ ? RM 50. Jalan Ipoh to Segambut RM 15. Tak nak bayar… cari teksi lain.

The taxi coupon system is a testament that we have a failed taxi service and even worst there a complete lack of monitoring and enforcement system. It is because most taxi drivers are cheats who fleeces the general public who are at their mercy, that a coupon system has no choice but to be implemented.

In most civilized cities, taxi drivers use meters. Tak payah pi jauh-jauh.  Just go to Singapore. Stop a cab. No need to ask if he can take you to your destination. No need to haggle over fare. Get inside the taxi and tell the destination.  The taxi driver then turn on the meter and drives you to your destination. Remember you are travelling in a comfortable, clean and well maintained taxi. More often than not the ordinary taxi would be a Toyota Crown or Hyundai Sonata. Of course the higher end includes Mercedes Benz and even Chrysler !. Here in Malaysia budget is usually the Proton Saga and executive is the Proton Waja.  Imagine Waja as an executive car. Oh yes, there is also the Hyundai Sonata as executive taxi. 

In Bandung and Jakarta, the Bluebird Taxi company is known for the honesty. The taxi drivers never charge even a rupiah extra. This Christian taxi company even has a website where all items accidentally left behind by passengers are immediately uploaded into the Lost & Found section of the company website. Oh by the way, In Bandung or Jakarta be very wary of taxi drivers of a company that uses Proton taxis.  Their whole existence is to cheat.
I Malaysia, most of the taxis are weather beaten, poorly maintained and reeking with foul odour Proton taxis. In fact you will need an “urut” after travelling in some of these taxis, because the shock absorbers were last changed before the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games. Just how Puspakam passes as road worthy has always baffled me.

Another thing. Just watch how the taxi drivers decorate their taxis with doa or religious stickers, pictures and figurines of deities or have the tasbih beads and other religious ornaments hanging on the rear mirror. Despite all these picture of religiousity, the average taxi driver has no qualms of scalping his passenger. Many times I have asked myself, these taxi crooks who cheat passengers, berkatkah kehidupan kamu bila kamu ambil wang yang tidak dihalalkan. Once when I told this to a taxi driver, his initial reply was ‘Encik, bawa taxi susah cari makan”. My reply “ kamu lihat tak burung yang terbang dilangit, tuhan juga sediakan makan untuknya. Apatah lagi untuk manusia. Carilah pendapatan yang halal. Mungkin kamu cekik darah ambil RM10 lebih, tak lama lagi anak kamu sakit dan belanja ubat RM100. Stunned by my remark, the taxi driver apologized and even wanted to return all my fare for the good advice.

Back to the issue, so long and until authorities like SPAD cannot get the monitoring and enforcing of taxi drivers in order, the general public would want the coupon system to continue. Judging from the opinions of the general public as reported in the newspapers, the public want the coupon system to continue.  

Here’s the news in full:
City cabbies want coupon system abolished, cite less revenue
By Lisa J. Ariffin

January 29, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Klang Valley taxi drivers want the authorities to abolish the coupon system put in place in several city landmarks, saying today it burdens the driver with less revenue and the consumer with higher charges. 
A group claiming to represent 200 taxi drivers gathered today and asked the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to meet them and resolve issues, including abolishing the coupons which was instituted to prevent rampant over-charging. 

“(We) strongly feel the coupon system on metered taxis has led to two systems — a premise charge for the taxis, and also a counter charge,” taxi driver Amran Jan told a press conference here today. 
“Additionally, only members are allowed to queue up for passengers. This clearly points to monopoly,” he added. 

Amran said under the coupon system, taxi drivers are required to pay a monthly membership fee of RM100 to operate in designated areas which includes tourist hot spots like the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Sunway Pyramid and KL Sentral. 

“The system profit is 10 per cent from the coupon price, but zero per cent is given to the taxi drivers. The coupon price is also not fixed,” he said, citing KL Sentral to LCCT as an example. 

“From KL Sentral to LCCT, the price is fixed at RM90, but from LCCT to KL Sentral, it is fixed at RM75. Why the double standard?” he asked. 

“Moreover, the time spent queueing up for passengers (at least 45 minute a trip) leads to profit loss in the long run,” he added. 

Cab driver Zaki Bashir said the system would lead to haggling of fares and concentration of drivers following loss of operating areas. 

“(We drivers) have to earn a living too. We have families to feed. Right now, there is no protection for us. All the negative perception is put upon us,” he said. 

“SPAD’s coupon system, which they say was implemented “to increase service quality”, is only rhetoric. They do not care for the taxi drivers.” 

The group was accompanied by Batu MP Chua Tian Chang and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. 
There are nearly 40,000 taxis in the Malay peninsula with some 32,000 operating in the Klang Valley. 
Apart from taxis, SPAD is charge of public transport such as buses and commuter trains. The city bus system has also received complaints from operators who say they have incurred losses due to controls over ticket prices. SPAD has allocated RM400 million to help bus operators overcome their problems.

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