Sunday October 7, 2012
Our road ahead is tough and rough too, say taxi drivers
GEORGE TOWN: Taxi drivers here are still refusing to use the meters, giving the excuse that they would not be able to earn a decent income on existing rates. They resort to using “standard fare” instead.
A reporter, who went undercover as a passenger, was charged RM40 from Queensbay Mall to Jalan Patani for a brief stop before proceeding to Komtar yesterday.
The driver claimed he had to impose the amount to cover his petrol, maintenance of his vehicle and expenses such as inspections at Puspakom which cost RM55 for the first and RM25 for subsequent ones if the vehicle failed to pass the first test.
“In Kuala Lumpur, more people use taxis,” he said. “People there wait for taxis, but here, cabbies wait for people,” he pointed out. “It's tough on us because we cannot really pick up passengers at any area we want such as at the airport and hotels unless customers call for us.”
On the Government's RM520 tyre vouchers under the 1Malaysia People's Taxi (TRIMA) assistance scheme, he said taxi drivers still had to top-up more money as the amount given was not enough for four new tyres and service charge.
At Komtar, the same reporter was told that taxi drivers there do not use the meter either.
She settled for a taxi driver who charged RM30 for a trip from Komtar to Bukit Jambul.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris said taxi drivers were also facing rising costs of living like the others.
“The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) should look into their issue,” he said. “Companies, with taxi permits make money by renting out the vehicles to taxi drivers daily.
“There are companies which hold numerous permits,” he added. “This system should be abolished.”
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