Big Blue Taxi Facilities adviser Shamsubahrin Ismail wants the flag-down fare to be doubled from the present RM3 to RM6 as drivers feel the pinch of high costs of living and fuel.
KUALA LUMPUR: A taxi operator has asked the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to double flag-down rates for budget taxis to RM6 from the current RM3 to help the industry improve services to the public.
Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd adviser Shamsubahrin Ismail said taxi drivers were feeling the burden of the higher cost of living due to the implementation the goods and services tax plus costlier fuel.
“The government will say, use gas as an alternative fuel, but it damages the car engine and the cost of repair is expensive,” he told reporters at his office in Ampang today.
At present, budget taxis charge RM3, Teks1M RM4 and executive cars RM6 at the start of the journey or for the first kilometre or the first three minutes of the journey in the Klang Valley.
Shamsubahrin suggested that the rates be standardised to what the executive cars charged nationwide.
“I have asked SPAD to standardise it while retaining the peak hours and midnight charges of 50% more to ensure quality of service,” he said.
Shamsubahrin said a minority of errant taxi drivers were giving the industry a bad name and they should be weeded out to improve the image of the drivers.
SPAD’s yearly budget should also be raised to enable it to hire more enforcement officers to give it more bite which was lacking due to limited manpower at present.
Shamsubahrin acknowledged that the charges of ride-sharing service providers Uber and Grab were lower, but he said taxis should not be included in this category as they also picked up passengers at taxi stands.
He also clarified that out of the 70% of drivers who had been blacklisted by financial institutions, only 10% of these were due to unhealthy activities.
He said about 10% of the 200,000 taxi drivers nationwide were involved in activities such as visiting karaoke lounges and borrowing money from loan sharks, while the remainder were blacklisted by banks for other reasons.
He expressed hope that SPAD would assist taxi drivers to buy new cars as required under the government’s National Transformation Plan 2050 (TN50).
The plan, which is being implemented in stages, would require taxi drivers to change cars every five years and to eventually have their individual taxi permits instead of renting a permit from a taxi company.