Airport cabbies hard hit by touts

  • Community
  • Tuesday, 13 May 2008

TAXI touts are now going aboutluring passengers discreetly atboth the Low-Cost CarrierTerminal (LCCT) and the KLIA mainterminal in Sepang.

Unlike the KLIA main terminalwhere the queue for taxis is long andmany passengers find it frustratingto wait in line, taxis are not a problemat the LCCT – the problem lieswith taxi touts.

Negotiable rates, any destination: Passengers getting into a van atthe LCCT.

Although many people do notobject to touts operating at the mainterminal due to the shortage of taxis,the legitimate budget and premiertaxi drivers at the LCCT are not toohappy with their presence there.

The cabbies have protested to theauthorities about the tout menacemany times in the past but no actionhas been taken so far.

Several taxi drivers told StarMetrothat the touts worked for teksi sapu,including 10-seater vans.

They said the touts immediatelyapproached and surrounded thepassengers as soon as they steppedout of the arrival hall.

“Every transport operator, whetherthey are legal or illegal, hassome connections and there is littlethe authorities can do to curb themenace,” a driver said.

Unfairadvantage?: Vansparked alongsidethe skybus next tothe taxi waitingpoint at the LCCT topick up passengers.

One driver, who had parked hisvan away from the taxi waiting point, said he was waiting to pick uppassengers to the Kuala Lumpur citycentre and Genting Highlands.

According to the driver, they usuallypick up families or groups ofmore than eight and this is theadvantage they have over taxis.

“Some passengers prefer to takevans. The rates are negotiable andwe can take them to any destination,”the van driver said.

But the legal taxi drivers are questioningwhether these vans shouldbe allowed to operate when thereare already enough buses and taxisservicing the passengers.

“We do not know if the vans arelegal. The passengers buy their ticketsat the counters. If they are tourvans waiting for tour groups toarrive, then that is acceptable. Whatwe are puzzled is that they producetickets before boarding the vans,”said another driver, who requestedanonymity.

The driver said passengers werealso partly to blame for encouragingtout activities as they were attractedby the much lower fares to their destinationscompared with budget andpremier taxis.

“How can the authorities allowvans not registered with the CommercialVehicle Licensing Board tooperate at the terminal when registeredtaxi drivers like us have to waitfor hours before we can get a firsttrip?” the driver said.

According to a premier taxi driver,some van operators even have theirown ticketing counter at the arrivalhall but this claim could not be verified.

The skybus company operatingbetween the LCCT and KL Sentralhas its own skyvans to pick up passengersand this has caused a furtherdent in the taxi drivers’ livelihood.

And at the end of the day, for theillegal operators and the touts, it isringgit and sen that matters.

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