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Wednesday November 19, 2008

Use meters or lose taxi permits

NEARLY 60% of the complaints filed with the Commercial Vehicle Licencing Board (CVLB) each month concerns taxi drivers refusing to use meters.

According to CVLB chairman Datuk Markiman Kobiran, taxi operators risk having their permits suspended or withdrawn if they do not use the fare meters.

Markiman told reporters this at the launch of the first taxi coupon system introduced at a KTM station,

He said rogue taxis were on the rise, especially in the Klang Valley where there were many tourists and outstation visitors.

New system: A passenger handing over a taxi coupon to a taxi driver at the Serdang KTM station

According to Markiman, there are 25,000 taxis operating in the Klang Valley and, even if 5,000 taxis are suspended, there would be enough taxis.

He said the CVLB had received numerous complaints of tourists being ripped off as taxi operators had refused to use meters and charged exorbitant fares.

“Now the disease has spread to KTM stations and the Serdang station is said to be one of the areas where the CVLB has received complaints on taxi operators,’’ Markiman said.

He said the coupon system, intro­duced at the Serdang station in September, would see that there was no victimising of commuters.

It is learnt that commuters have complained that cabbies choose their passengers and would take whoever offering them the best fare after some bargaining.

“With the coupon system, cabbies cannot choose their passengers. Whoever is at the front of the queue will take the first passenger,’’ Markiman said.

Before the coupon system was introduced, taxi operators would choose not to pick up passengers if they were not interested in plying a certain route.

Touts were also said to be operating at the KTM station to discourage passengers from buying the coupons, claiming that taxi operators could offer cheaper fares.

Markiman said there were also infighting among cabbies at the taxi queue and with the new system in place, there would be no tout and no need for policing.

“The coupon will state a fixed price for various destinations and this will prevent any conflict between the drivers and passengers.

“We hope all KTM stations will implement the system as it is essential to provide an orderly system for the public,’’ he said.

The rates for the various destinations were worked out by the taxi operators and the CVLB following a zoning system and the distance from the pick-up point to the disembarkation point.

The system is seen as a way to resolve the complaints against the unscrupulous taxi operators.

According to Markiman, from July to October this year, the CVLB has referred 138 cases to court for various offences, with 55 having their licences cancelled and 13 slapped with a maximum compound of RM300 and the rest temporarily suspended between seven and 12 months.

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