Saturday, March 21, 2015

Trying to justify the taxi fare increase....

‘Necessary to raise cab fares’From The Star....

KUALA LUMPUR: The taxi industry might have come to a halt if fares were not raised, warned the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
Its chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohd Kamal said if fares remained stagnant, drivers, burdened by rising costs, would have eventually “turned on” their passengers.
“We were already hearing (acts of) activism among taxi drivers and seeing them accustomed to doing whatever they wanted,” he said at SPAD headquarters here yesterday.
This included blocking traffic whenever SPAD carried out enforcement action against them, which might have deteriorated into fighting and insulting riders in the long run.
Mohd Nur was responding to public complaints over the higher taxi fares announced by SPAD on Thursday.
Taxi drivers, he added, faced a 33% overall cost increase to their operations since 2009, which was when fares were last raised.
This, he said, had led to drivers merely being able to earn RM970 a month (after deducting costs) if they only used their meters, forcing some to overcharge customers.
“This is why many of them will not follow rules. It doesn't do them justice," he said.
Some drivers, he said, were even cutting back on costs by skimping on maintenance and buying inferior parts to raise their take-home pay.
“With this new scheme, the driver can take home RM2,600 (a month) after 12 hours of work a day,” he said, adding that this also meant that SPAD now had the moral mandate to suspend errant drivers.
He said a large majority of drivers would break laws out of necessity, which SPAD wanted to change.
Asked on coming changes to further regulate taxi drivers, Mohd Nur said measures included a total conversion to the brown Proton Exora models, surveillance monitoring and ultimately, courteous drivers.
He said the Centralised Taxi Service System, which would track taxis via satellite, would be ready by year's end.
Defending the hike, he said few rides would see customers spending more than 40% extra with the new taxi fares.
This amount, he argued, might only be reached if rides exceeded the 10km mark, adding that 70% of all trips in the Klang Valley were below this distance.
“(We're trying to) limit it (taxis) to short distances. We want to encourage the first step to taking the trains as the main mode,” he said, adding that SPAD was trying to integrate all the train networks and coming up with cashless ticketing as well as discounts for users taking different types of transport.
SPAD, he said, was also looking into expanding the user-based MeterOn smartphone app (to report errant taxis) to include express buses.
As of Thursday, taxi fares were raised with immediate effect while trains and express buses would see their new fares up from May 1 and May 15.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Update on Beer Prices...

After my last post I'm pleased to announce that Gypsy Bar have reverted to more sensible pricing at RM 13 net for a mug of Tiger after 9 pm...whilst it's RM 10 before 9 pm.
There are still some good deals to be had along Changkat Bukit Bintang but you have to shop around.
A lot of bars now do volume deals-buy 1 get 1 free, buy 2 get 1 free etc etc.
To be honest it gets a bit confusing as it takes quite a while to read the drinks menu and if you're standing outside you get a barrage of noise with waiters shouting various offers at you.
The deals are good if you get to a bar early and plan to stay there but not so good for bar-hopping.
The economy this year is supposed to be a bit tough so we can expect either a few little price wars for competition along the street or everybody increasing their prices in an attempt to cover reduced margins ,rising costs and fewer customers.....Certainly the recent Xmas/New Year festivities were somewhat remains to be seen what 2014 will bring,
I certainly don't want to see bars forced to close but then again, I want a value-for-money beer where you know the bar is not profiteering.....

Sunday, November 24, 2013


That number might signify the year of President Lincoln's assassination-or the end of the US Civil War.
But No!
It's the price of a mug of Tiger at Gypsy Bar after 9pm!!!
That's right, RM 18.65.
For a mug.
You're the mug!
There was a time when Gypsy was one of the best value bars on Changkat Bukit Bintang-and to be fair, you can still get some good deals if you arrive before 9 pm of RM 10 for a mug or RM 50 for 5 bottles of Tiger-But after 9 pm-Wow!
You get punished.
Big time.
It's now one of the more expensive watering holes-more expensive then even Healy Macs, or Havana.
Now, I can understand paying a high price if the surroundings are a bit well, swanky-or if they lay-on a good band or even if the place is full of beautiful people and supermodels..
But, come on ! It's only a bar-nothing special at all.
You can get much more reasonable pricing at Front Page, Sutra, Ceylon Bar, Racks or the two-dozen or so other bars on the street......

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pub Quizzes in Kuala Lumpur.

A good way to spend an evening in KL is to enter a local pub quiz...I've been doing this for about 4 years now and have to say that it's getting more and more popular.
Come as a team of 3 or 4-or play solo.
The quiz scenes has peaks and troughs-and right now it seems to be a peak.
Sometimes it's OK just to sit in a bar and watch someone somewhere in the world hit a ball with a bat on the Sports TV screen ,or even just to admire the local scenery in the bar that you're at-but at other times it's good to have a bit of mental stimulation.
The quizzes vary in difficulty from place-to-place...Usually there is a RM 10 joining fee.
Quizzes usually start at around 9pm Malaysian rubber-time!
Here's a quick guide to a few:

Sutra Bar on Changkat Bukit Bintang.
Level-Fairly Easy 5 rounds (sports/general/music/entertainment)
Prize-A bottle of scotch! plus  2 beers to share for all round winners.
Overview-I'm not too sure about this Bar...the mostly male staff, although not unfriendly are indifferent at best.
It doesn't get too crowded and the quiz night coincides with their Ladies Night.
Sometimes the music can be so loud that you need to leave straight afterwards.
Beer price RM 11 for a mug

Healy Macs Changkat Bukit Bintang
Used to be 'the daddy" of the quiz scene and now after a few months break, it's back.
Level-Moderate to (sometimes very) Difficult.
5 rounds covering just about everything.
Prize A Bottle of vodka for 1st...2 Buckets of beer for 2nd...1 bucket for 3rd
Plus round winners win a bucket of beer.(5 bottles)
The most generous alcoholic prizes helps offset the rather expensive draft beer (RM 14-16) but only if you are lucky enough to win a round. And then you have the nice problem of what to do with even more booze at the end of the night....
An ideal setting for a pub quiz because , well-it's a pub!

Ceylon Bar Changkat Bukit Bintang
Level-a bit tough  3 rounds plus problems to solve during the quiz (anagrams/dingbats etc)
A bit more academic
Prize-a Bottle of Vodka for the winner-spot questions win individual beers
Overview-Unfortunately the layout means that if you're not sitting at the bar it can be a struggle to view the one TV monitor.
Nice bar though.And Interesting questions.
Beer price RM 14 a mug

Pound Bar TTDI
Level Easy to Moderate
5 Rounds
Prize-a bottle of vodka plus round winners get 2 beers to share.
Individual jackpot question for cash.
I haven't been here yet-I hear it's a bit crowded and smokey- busy and gets about 12 teams.

GridIron Jalan Telawi 2 Bangsar
Level Difficult to Bloody Impossible!
Prize RM 150 for the winner, bottle of wine for 2nd
plus round winners get RM 50,2nd place round winners get a pint of Tiger.
Play as an individual (but you can discuss with the people next to you)
3 rounds-all multiple choice General/Academic Knowledge
Unlike most other places where you pay RM 10 per person to enter the quiz, this one is free!
Beer price is RM 16.25 per mug! yikes....only worth it if you win a round!
A big bar with friendly staff and a TV monitor wherever you look.
One of the only bars left in Bangsar.

Gypsy Bar Changkat Bukit Bintang
Level Easy to Moderate
Prize Bottle of Vodka or sometimes Wine depending on how many people participate.
Round winners get to share 2 beers.
If there are enough participants a final individual jack-pot round wins cash-usually around RM150-200 but can roll-over to accumulate.
Most people who go to Gypsy do not have a pub quiz on their mind-sometimes there are more non-participants and distractions than there are team players.
Every time I come here now, there are at least 2 new male members of staff. Gypsy must have the highest staff-turnover on the street-and seems to be replacing their serving girls with guys!-call me sexist but I prefer a bar staffed by barmaids!Oh,.and at times the draught beer can be almost undrinkable but to be fair, it's been OK these last few visits.
The quiz can start very late,after 10 pm, and seems like the quizmaster is in a rush to finish before it gets too chaotic.
And it can get very noisy
But can be good fun as well!
Beer Price RM 11 a mug (RM 8 for a bottle of Tiger before 9pm!)

Front Page Changkat Bukit Bintang
Level Easy to Moderate
5 Rounds
Prize A Bottle of Wine for the winner...Round winners get to share 2 beers.
Fairly laid back and chilled-out most people sit outside.
Nice atmosphere.
It's getting more competitive with around 5 or 6 teams (sometimes some very large teams!)
Front Page is packed when there is live sports on....during the week it's quieter
Beer RM 10 a mug (RM 10 a pint before 9pm!) Best value on the street...I think.

Healy Macs Sri Hartamas
Similar to the Changkat outlet but smaller.
Same format.
Quite popular

Never Mine Changkat Bukit Bintang
Level East to Moderate
5 Rounds pop culture,music and sport
Prize A bottle of Wine for the winners pus round winners get to share 2 beers,
(Attempts to)Start a bit earlier than the others (around 8.30ish) to make way for live and loud music from 10pm.
Can be a bit sparse of participants as a lot of pub-goers just want to unwind and talk loud nonsense on a Friday (nothing wrong with that!)

Moon Bar Plaza Damansara
Level Easy to Moderate
5 Rounds
Prize A bottle of wine or vodka for the winner plus round winners get to share 2 beers.
A very quite place out in the suburbs usually not too many participants,,,but if you're in the neighbourhood-Why Not? Gets a bit too smokey inside and you can't quite see the screens or hear properly if you're outside.
Beer Price RM 10 for a mug of Tiger.

So there you have it-If you're a real trivia fiend you can plan your week using the info above...otherwise just turn-up and see how good/lucky you are.
Remember, there are no hard or easy questions-you either know the answer-or you don't.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

A little more classy this year!
Usually I find the Xmas decor in the Shopping Malls a little,well, over-the-top and the majority of displays look like they have been thrown-in with a shovel.
This year seems that my message has gotten across
either that or I have been here too long and have succumbed to the tackiness of the usual displays but "Less is More" seems to be working for the malls this year... 

Merry Christmas!