I REFER to the letter by ATS, from Kathmandu, Nepal, entitled “Cabbies Who Tarnish Name of Malaysia” (The Star, Nov 4).
The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) would like to express regret that ATS, his wife and sister-in-law had to endure such a harrowing experience while in Malaysia.
We certainly hope that ATS made a police report following the assault and battery that ensued, which are criminal acts.
SPAD views the matter very seriously. We urge ATS and members of the public who have similar bad experiences to immediately lodge a report with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the local toll free hotline 1-800-88-7723 to enable us to take necessary action.
With the right information, we can ensure irresponsible drivers are swiftly identified and dealt with. For effective action to be taken, SPAD requires ATS and other complainants to provide the following details: full name and phone number, vehicle registration number, location details as well as time and date of incident. Additional evidence such as audio or video recordings, or even witnesses’ contact details will greatly enhance our ability to bring errant taxi drivers to book.
Since 2011, the SPAD enforcement team has been on the ground and investigated 6,387 cases involving taxis. These include offences such as failure to use meter, having no driver’s card, failure to produce permit or documents, parking at unauthorised locations and miscellaneous offences such blocking the meter and waiting too long at unauthorised areas.
Between June 2011 and September 2014, SPAD suspended a total of 224 taxis, issued 582 warnings, compounded 2,952 drivers and brought to court 160 cases. To date, there are another 574 more cases being considered to be brought to court.
On a positive note since January this year, there has been a marked decrease in offences by taxi drivers with a reduction from 267 cases in January to 174 cases in September.
This positive trend can be attributed to the outreach, engagement and enforcement efforts carried out by SPAD to raise awareness and compliance level among taxi drivers.
SPAD’s role with regards to taxi drivers is as regulatory and licensing body, while the Royal Malaysian Police enforce the criminal law aspect.
SPAD issues the driver’s card based on qualifications and fulfilment of requirements.
Should there be any involvement of any driver in criminal cases, SPAD will either suspend or revoke the driver’s card.
SPAD is also reviewing the records of taxi drivers and will revoke those with criminal records.
To weed out undesirable taxi drivers there is a need to shape driver behaviour through compulsory programmes with modules to create a mindset on the professionalism along with awareness for ethics and etiquette.
SPAD is embarking on these through the Taxi Migration programme via Teksi 1Malaysia (TEKS1M) which ultimately aims to improve the quality of taxi services.
TEKS1M is one of SPAD’s most recent initiatives to facilitate this change which includes components for profession advancement, performance management, technology enablement, fleet enhancement, fare rationalisation and cost optimisation. It promises a safer, more comfortable and convenient taxi experience for all.
The commission is also harnessing new technologies to implement the Centralised Taxi Service System (CTSS). This will see the introduction of GPS, driver ID validation, embedded taxi meter, taxi reservation hotline, command centre, geographic coverage tracking and complaints management. These measures are not just to ensure improved availability of taxis but also safer rides.
While we are embarking on a long-term transformation programme, SPAD is also stepping up its enforcement activities through the use of mystery shoppers with video recording to catch even more errant drivers in the short-term.
MOHD NUR ISMAL MOHD KAMAL
Chief Executive Officer
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD)