The Proton Saga serving taxi duty is one of the most familiar sights on Malaysian roads, and the new one is set to continue this honoured duty in due course.
Following the recently-announced Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP) by the cabinet, the new Saga will be clear for taxi duty despite having only a 1.3-litre engine.
Previously, operators in the budget taxi segment are only allowed to use national vehicles powered by 1,500cc engines and above. One of the key tenets of the TITP, however, is that vehicle models for taxis will be liberalized – any model that attains a minimum 3-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating will be good to go.
Previous taxi regulations.
To meet the previous capacity-based requirements, Proton had specially produced low-spec 1.6-litre versions of the previous-generation Saga BLM to cater for the taxi fleet in addition to also supplying the Waja and previous-generation Persona.
Even after the facelifted Saga FL and Saga FLX were introduced in 2010 and 2011 respectively, the Saga 1.6 for taxis continued to be made in its pre-facelift appearance.
With the new ruling, Proton no longer has the need to make a new Saga 1.6 specifically for the taxi market, although the new 2016 Persona is being readied for taxi duty as well.
The TITP was announced by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on 16 Aug 2016 as a measure from the Government to reform the taxi industry in the face of stiff competition from increasingly-popular ride sharing services – namely Grab and Uber. Only recently, the taxi industry was rocked by news that as many as 10,000 drivers have returned their vehicles to beleaguered operators.