KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 – The increased taxi and express bus fares is timely, however, the quality of services must improve for the comfort of the public. This is among the mixed reaction given by consumers, taxi, hired car and bus associations through a survey conducted by Bernama in Kuala Lumpur today. Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operators Association president Datuk Aslah Abdullah said the government should review the rates once every two years to improve services. “The relevant authorities must be aware of the situation (fares) and not to review and increase fares after a long time and must explain it to the public.

“We are not greedy and want a win-win situation for both parties. This calls for the cooperation of taxi associations and the public,” he told Bernama today. The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) announced yesterday, taxi and hire car fares will increase by between 20% and 67% effective immediately and express bus fares will go up 22.6% on May 15. SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the rise in fares was inevitable due to higher costs, including for maintenance, borne by public transport operators. Aslah said in line with the price hike, the taxi association was ready to install up-to-date taxi metres.

“A database of attitude and quality of service of taxi drivers also needs to be set up, as not all drivers are indisciplined, the database will systematically identify the drivers who are problem makers and action will be taken later,” he said. The authorities and public must also play their role in providing proof and correct information on problematic taxi drivers, as they are a total of 30,000 registered taxi drivers in the Klang Valley, Aslah said. National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC), board of trustees member Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said the adjustments and new rates of taxi and bus fares must be aligned with service improvements.

“What is the point of fare hikes if the taxi drivers do not use the metre, acting like gangsters and are rude?, they need improve their services to the public,” he said. Muhammad Sha’ani also questioned the authorities decisions on increasing the fare. “Is it due to the competition from Uber’s smartphone-based taxi service which offers cheaper fare and is popular among the public right now. “Why can Uber offer lower charges but not public taxis? Is it due to the high cost of getting the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) license? SPAD needs to study this matter,” he said. – Bernama

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