KUALA LUMPUR: All budget and executive taxi operators with permits expiring by Oct 31 this year must change their car types to a brown Proton Exora.
The move, which comes under a taxi migration scheme by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will see 2,604 drivers in Malaysia using the brown Exora by the end of the year.
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said those with permits expiring between May 1 and Oct 31 would be allowed to keep on using whatever car they had until November.
"As of May 1, those who have to change are given six months to migrate to the new taxi... we'll give an extension. We hope they will (change their taxis)," he told reporters at SPAD headquarters Wednesday.
He added that drivers whose permits expired between May 1 and Oct 31 this year were welcome to switch to the Exora.
The move is expected to affect 42,642 budget and executive taxi drivers across Peninsular Malaysia.
Given that taxi permits have a 10-year lifespan, the last non-Proton Exora taxi is expected to disappear from Malaysia's streets by the end of 2024.
As of mid-April, there were 539 people driving the brown Exora, which was launched under the Teksi 1 Malaysia (Teks1m) initiative last year.
In 2013, SPAD announced that the brown Proton Exora - a 1.6-litre MPV model - would eventually become Malaysia's flagship taxi, replacing all other city taxi types.
Drivers here, especially in the Klang Valley, have been known to use nearly a dozen taxi colours and half as many car models, which SPAD said was confusing to passengers.
Syed Hamid said in five years, nearly half of all those driving a budget or executive taxi today would change their cars to the brown Exora.
As of Apr 24, SPAD recorded a total of 75,550 taxis in the Peninsular, including 39,531 budget, 3,111 executive, 3,132 airport, 996 limousine taxis as well as 11,402 hired/drive and 17,378 hired cars.
The majority of the country's taxis operate in the Klang Valley, with 51,550 taxis recorded here including 32,278 budget taxis. Another 4,922 and 1,126 budget taxis were in the Johor and Penang states respectively.
In another matter, Syed Hamid said a public transport fare structure - covering buses, trains and taxis - would be presented to the Economic Council "in a few days".
He added that a rationalisation of public transport fares also did not mean that fares would go up, though Syed Hamid declined to comment on prices.
When asked when an announcement would be made, SPAD chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal said "the decision will be soon, but the implementation... we're not sure how long it will take."