KUALA LUMPUR: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is reviewing taxi fares and has indicated a possible increase in the near future.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said SPAD was studying the costs incurred by taxi drivers.
“I understand that SPAD is currently reviewing the taxi fares, taking into account the operational costs (of taxi drivers),” he said to the loud cheers of over 500 cabbies at the SPAD headquarters in KL Sentral here yesterday.
SPAD, he added, was also looking into an “accreditation programme” which would become a future requirement for cabbies to enable better taxi services.
Najib said this in his speech before presenting 500 Taxi 1Malaysia (Teks1m) individual licences to the cabbies. They were part of a group of 1,000 drivers chosen out of 19,117 Teks1m applicants earlier this year.
Later at a press conference, SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the fare review was almost at its final stage although he declined to comment on what kind of increase would be involved.
However, he said SPAD hoped to present the review before the Government by the end of the year, adding that the implementation might take place by that time or at the beginning of next year.
Asked when the fare review might take effect, he said this would be set up “as soon as possible” after it was approved by the Government.
The current flag-off rate for Malaysian taxis is RM3, with 10 sen charged for every subsequent 100m. The last review was in 2009.
Asked about a possible public outcry over such an increase, Syed Hamid said Malaysians could not hope to demand for good service and pay low rates at the same time.
“We’ll try to create a balance (between) having good service and paying for that service. We need to look at taxi drivers’ welfare, too,” he said, adding that feedback from young adult commuters was that they did not mind paying more if the service was good.
SPAD, he said, was also looking at a flexible fare review mechanism.
SPAD CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal said the commission would also get public feedback on the fare review before it was presented to the Government.