Tuesday, February 7, 2012

City cabbies want coupon system abolished, cite less revenue

City cabbies want coupon system abolished, cite less revenue

By Lisa J. Ariffin
January 29, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Klang Valley taxi drivers want the authorities to abolish the coupon system put in place in several city landmarks, saying today it burdens the driver with less revenue and the consumer with higher charges.

A group claiming to represent 200 taxi drivers gathered today and asked the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to meet them and resolve issues, including abolishing the coupons which was instituted to prevent rampant over-charging.

“(We) strongly feel the coupon system on metered taxis has led to two systems — a premise charge for the taxis, and also a counter charge,” taxi driver Amran Jan told a press conference here today.

“Additionally, only members are allowed to queue up for passengers. This clearly points to monopoly,” he added.

Amran said under the coupon system, taxi drivers are required to pay a monthly membership fee of RM100 to operate in designated areas which includes tourist hot spots like the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Sunway Pyramid and KL Sentral.

“The system profit is 10 per cent from the coupon price, but zero per cent is given to the taxi drivers. The coupon price is also not fixed,” he said, citing KL Sentral to LCCT as an example.

“From KL Sentral to LCCT, the price is fixed at RM90, but from LCCT to KL Sentral, it is fixed at RM75. Why the double standard?” he asked.

“Moreover, the time spent queueing up for passengers (at least 45 minute a trip) leads to profit loss in the long run,” he added.

Cab driver Zaki Bashir said the system would lead to haggling of fares and concentration of drivers following loss of operating areas.

“(We drivers) have to earn a living too. We have families to feed. Right now, there is no protection for us. All the negative perception is put upon us,” he said.

“SPAD’s coupon system, which they say was implemented “to increase service quality”, is only rhetoric. They do not care for the taxi drivers.”

The group was accompanied by Batu MP Chua Tian Chang and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. There are nearly 40,000 taxis in the Malay peninsula with some 32,000 operating in the Klang Valley.

Apart from taxis, SPAD is charge of public transport such as buses and commuter trains. The city bus system has also received complaints from operators who say they have incurred losses due to controls over ticket prices. SPAD has allocated RM400 million to help bus operators overcome their problems.


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