PETALING JAYA: Consumer bodies have cautioned the taxi industry against increasing fares in the face of heavy competition from e-hailing services such as Uber and GrabCar.
Malaysian Consumers Association (Maconas) president Amarjit Singh Gill said the taxi business in Malaysia is in a sorry state with poor service and high charges.
He contrasted this with what was being offered by the e-hailing services, which of late have gained significant popularity.
“Uber and Grab provide cheaper prices for trips while their overall service is better than that offered by taxis,” he told FMT today.
He said any move to increase taxis’ starting fares would not swing the situation in their favour.
“Maybe some might agree to the taxi fare hike. However, I do not think that it is beneficial to the drivers, as Uber and Grab are still leading in terms of prices and service,” he said.
At present, budget taxis charge RM3, Teks1M cabs charge RM4 and executive cars charge RM6 at the start of a trip, or for the first km or first three minutes of a journey in the Klang Valley.
The idea to increase fares came in the wake of Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd adviser Shamsubahrin Ismail saying the drivers were feeling the burden of the high cost of living due to the implementation of the goods and services tax, as well as costlier fuel.
Vice-president of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca), Mohd Yusuf Abdul Rahman, said the taxi industry needs to seriously rethink any plan to raise prices as this would lead to losses for the service providers.
He said taxi operators had made promises to improve their service before, but these had not materialised.
“The services offered by them to consumers are still terrible.”
Yusuf said the authorities need to review and restructure the system in the industry to help alleviate the drivers’ financial burdens.
“New strategies are needed as those in the taxi business are being left far behind compared to the e-hailing services,” he said.
Ivy Chong contributed to this article.
Source : 2 June 2017 Free Malaysia Today