A couple of days ago, we touched upon the increase in taxi fares that were to result from a revision by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD). The new fares have been brought forward and will take effect on April 1st to coincide with the implementation of GST.
To help with this transition, taxi drivers are given a period of three months to make the necessary adjustments and recalibrations to their on-board meter system.
Within the Klang Valley, fares would be increased to 25 sen per 200 meters for regular budget taxis, with a flag-down rate of RM3 nationwide. For Teks1Malaysia cabs, the flag-down rate will be RM4, with 30 sen charged per 200 meters travelled.
Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal, SPAD Chief Executive, about the general reluctance of taxi drivers to accommodate certain fares, said to Free Malaysia Today “This is an example of how they operate within an environment where economic fundamentals are not appropriately addressed, with behaviour that also includes choosing passengers and destinations.”
While there have been obvious unhappiness surrounding this price hike, Mohd Nur said they were in a "tight spot" having to juggle the issues of sustainability, accessibilty and affordability. The more funds channelled into this industry may lead to higher morale, better maintained taxis, and an incentive to operate during congestion-heavy peak hours. Although far from a certainty, SPAD's argument is that it should contribute better quality of service to the customer.
Malaysians have a variety of options when it comes to transportation, especially within urban areas, and taxi drivers have to prove they can provide the increase in quality to justify the increase in price.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.