PETALING JAYA, March 19 — Any increase in taxi fares should be fair to both the drivers and consumers, said Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason.

“It is not the right time for an increase, but we have to understand fares have not been increased for years. Taxi drivers also need to survive because the cost of living is rising,” he said.

Marimuthu said, however, it was important that the new fares were not exorbitant.

A Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) spokesman said the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) promised taxi services would improve once the fares were revised.

“SPAD said taxis in Penang will be forced to use meters and people can lodge complaints if they do not,” he said.

The spokesman said CAP was unhappy over the proposed increase but had accepted it and hoped the services would improve.

“From the consumers’ perspective, price is one of the issues. The other is the way drivers behave, and how they provide service. If you compare taxi fares in Penang and KL, prices in Penang are higher,” he said.

The spokesman said the service improvements needed to justify the fare increase.

Malay Mail had reported taxi fares were expected to increase by up to 40 per cent and SPAD was scheduled to announce the new fare structure this week.

Industry sources said the new rates for metered taxis would see an increase for flag-down fares, distance and time charges.

Among the proposed new rates in Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Baru would be RM3.30 for budget cabs (flag-down fare) and RM4.30 for budget cabs in Penang (flag-down fare) with 25 sen charged for every 200m or 30 seconds.

Current flag-down rates for budget taxis are RM3 for Klang Valley and Johor Baru and RM4 for Penang.

The current distance and time charges are 87 sen per km and 10 sen per 21 seconds respectively.

The new rates will see consumers paying RM1.25 per km.

Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said the association supported the revision.

“I don’t know why it has taken so long as it has long been approved by the government,” he said.

Nadzim said the public had a misconception prices would be greatly affected when Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented next month.

“People think everything will increase, but taxi fares are something long overdue.

“This perception will need to be changed,” he said.


Malay Mail Online