KOTA KINABALU: Taxi drivers here want the state government to grant them exclusive rights to transport passengers from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).
In a peaceful demonstration, KKIA Limousine and Taxi Association president Shamsuddin Mohd Shah said it was getting difficult for cabbies to earn a living amid competition from e-hailing operators such as Grab.
“Previously, taxi drivers were able to make six trips daily. Now, we only make one trip per day. How can we survive like this?
“We have been suffering for the past two years. We even had to close down our taxi booth and let go of six of the 12 employees because we could no longer afford their salaries.
“We ask that the state government and the Chief Minister help us. We are the rakyat, too,” he told reporters at KKIA yesterday.
Shamsuddin claimed that in the past few months, it had engaged in discussions with Grab and the Sabah Commercial Vehicle Licencing Board (LPKP) and that a decision had been made for cabbies to become the airport’s primary transport providers.
“Seven months ago, we had a few meetings with LPKP and Grab. We even met with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
“During the discussions and workshops, they approved giving us exclusive rights to transport passengers.
“They told us that Grab drivers would not be allowed to pick up passengers from the airport, and we even agreed on the rates (for taxi drivers).
“But until today, these have not been enforced,” he alleged.
Grab drivers, said Shamsuddin, did not follow instructions and parked at the airport while waiting for bookings.
“They can leave anytime they get booked while taxis can only leave one at a time (in order of the bookings made),” he claimed.
Shamsuddin said the taxi drivers were ready to be inducted into the e-hailing system, provided that they were granted exclusive rights.
“If they (passengers) want cheap fares, we hope that e-hailing operators will give exclusive rights to us and not private vehicle drivers,” he added.