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Friday, 21 February 2014

Counters for city taxis in KLIA soon

EFFECTIVE March 1, two counters will be allocated for city taxis next to the airport limousine service at both the domestic and international arrival halls of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said passengers disembarking at KLIA can now more easily choose between a premium airport limo, budget airport limo or a metered city taxi as the counters will be located in the same row.

Syed Hamid said the metered taxi counters would be operational on March 1, adding that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) would be making an official announcement soon.

“They (MAHB) will also announce the availability of all three categories of taxis every 30 minutes throughout the day, at the main terminal hall and the satellite building,’’ he said.

He added that MAHB would put up signage and bunting on taxi zoning at strategic places such as the aerotrain, Customs and baggage claims carousel.

He was responding to a series of articles by StarMero highlighting the plight of visitors, who were unaware that a metered taxi option was available at Level 1 of the airport due to poor signage.

The confusing signage in the airport had also resulted in travellers paying premium rates for the limousine service.

The premium and budget taxi service is operated by Airport Limo (M) Sdn Bhd.

On May 15 last year, a two-tier taxi system was implemented in KLIA, where airport limos will continue to operate at Level 3 while city taxis queue at Level 1.

Passengers have the choice of buying a coupon and using the airport limo or a city taxi, for which fare can be paid based on the meter.

Syed Hamid said SPAD should not be blamed for the current state of affairs.

“Everything starts at the airport, so MAHB must respond to customer feedback and be service-orientated,’’ he said.

On the issue of territorial control at Suria KLCC and hotels in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Syed Hamid said they were located on private roads and SPAD had no jurisdiction over them.

“I can only advise them (building owners) to be more open and allow city taxis to come in and offer a choice to their customers.

“The onus is on the buildings’ owners to ensure that the taxi service provided is efficient and fair.

“Having said that, it is also the responsibility of city cabbies to behave properly and improve their service,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) said it would look into possible anti-competition behaviour in the issue of territorial control.

Its chief executive officer, Shila Dorai Raj said in a statement, “MyCC noted with interest the many issues that were raised in the StarMetro article on Feb 17, titled ‘Un-fare Advantage’.

“MyCC is looking into the situation for any possible anti-competitive behaviour.

“Claims made by taxi drivers about ‘territorial control by certain taxi companies’ may have anti-competitive elements or denying access by a dominant company,’’ Shila said.

“In reference to the company controlling the taxi service in front of Suria KLCC, based on initial enquiries by the MyCC on the matter, the area is the private property of Suria KLCC and the appointment of the said company, Awana Sutera Sdn Bhd, was a business decision made by Suria KLCC as a counter service was deemed suitable for the area.

“While it is a business decision, there could be elements of anti-competitive behaviour in the agreement, which in this case seems to be like an exclusive arrangement,’’ she said, adding that MyCC would have to assess the agreement in totality.

Shila said with regard to the KLIA taxi situation, while it appeared that consumers now had a choice to choose between using the limo or city taxi services, the current set-up at the airport seemed discriminatory towards city taxis.

“It appears to be an unfair trade practice as based on the report, travellers or visitors arriving at KLIA are not informed of the various options of taxi services available.

“MAHB will have to address the issue and MyCC will follow up on this.”

The statement added that while MyCC might detect elements that could infringe the Competition Act 2010, cooperation from relevant parties either to file formal complaints or to provide further information was encouraged.

“This will greatly assist in the gathering of information and subsequently the assessment of the situation.”

It was reported that Kuala Lumpur taxi drivers wanted an end to the territorial monopoly by taxi companies.

The taxi drivers claimed that territorial control was bad for business as the unfair advantage often resulted in some cabbies overcharging.

It is no secret that selected taxi companies monopolise five-star hotels in Bukit Bintang and KLCC, which offer only their limousine and premium taxi services to guests.

There have been complaints from the public that they are often denied the option of choosing budget taxis.

Tags / Keywords: Government , Central Region , Transport Safety , KLIA Taxi


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