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.