In 2008, Malaysia’s embarrassing open secret was exposed: we claimed title to having the worst taxi drivers in the world.
As someone who takes public transportation regularly for the past 12 years, and who has travelled quite a bit to other countries, I agree. When the above article came out on AFP and subsequently picked up by news service all around the world, I wrote a blog post called Malaysian Taxis – Complaints Etc to help direct people to the right channels and authorities when they have the unfortunate luck of using these scoundrels’ services. Til today it remains one of the most read posts in this blog.
Well apparently our Malaysian taxi drivers are working very hard to retain the title. This appeared in The Star today.
Briton charged RM450 for 10km trip, sparking furore over cheating cabbies
PETALING JAYA: An English tourist was charged RM450 for a taxi ride from KL Sentral to the Suria KLCC shopping centre, a distance of less than 10km.
The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) said the tourist paid the fare before lodging a report against the driver.
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said they were investigating and would take action against the taxi driver and the operator.
He said the taxi driver was believed to have threatened the tourist into paying the fee.
“Taxi drivers are our frontliners and ambassadors of the country as they interact with tourists daily.
“We are taking this seriously as it affects the country’s image,” he said after opening SPAD’s new enforcement centre at the Persada Plus here yesterday.
He said SPAD was conducting a study to regulate the pricing mechanism for the taxi coupon system.
“We want feedback from taxi drivers and passengers before proceeding with the study,” he said, adding that there were mixed views about the coupon system.
While some supported it, he said, others saw it as restrictive.
“Some drivers said they would be unable to take passengers if they were not part of the taxi coupon system, while others felt it restrict-ed their movement,” he said, adding that the system was implemented privately by mall and airport operators.
SPAD also announced the purchase of 17 new vehicles, which will be used by its enforcement officers nationwide.
Syed Hamid said the highest number of reports SPAD received were against illegal taxi touts, followed by complaints about overloaded lorries on the road.
In the 3,845 operations conducted since Jan 2010, 74 individuals and operators have been taken to court. Source: The Star Online
I could feel my shame and anger rising as I read this.
- We’re only taking this seriously now?
- We’re only conducting a study on a price regulating mechanism for taxis now?
- We’re only buying more enforcement vehicles now?
- We’re only having a SPAD enforcement centre now?
I wish to extend my apologies to the unnamed tourist in the article above. In fact I’d like to extend my apologies to everyone who’s ever had an unpleasant experience with Malaysian taxis. I wish I could say that these are aberrations; unfortunately, and with shame, I have to say that the bad apples happen to be the norm instead of the exception in my beautiful country.
Please read my original post on this matter, you can find it here. Where you can, share it as much as possible. If it can help one passenger in the future from being fleeced, or assist one to get some form of justice, it is worth the 2 seconds it takes you to click the share button. Sometimes we feel victimised and abused but we do not lodge a complaint because we don’t know how, or we chuck it up to experience and tell ourselves we’ll just end up as a statistic anyway. But statistics can help. It may be slow, but when the number grows big enough, it will be deafening and the authorities will have no choice but sit-up and take action.
Help kick these “thugs” to the curb. In the words of the wise philosopher Dee Snider: “We’re not gonna take it, no we ain’t gonna take it, we’re not gonna take it anymore.”