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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Raising taxi fare won’t improve service

THE letter “Most cabbies at losing end” (The Star, May 25) prompted me to write in. Our minister assumes that the quality of service will improve after the fare is raised.

However, the drivers behind the wheel are still the same. I tried to board a taxi at the Tasik Selatan LRT stand on Wednesday evening and none of them were willing to go to Taman Connaught because of the night market. Passengers are supposed to get into the taxi and the driver is supposed to send them to their destination. No choosing of destination, no haggling, no excuses.

Last week, after I got into a taxi at a shopping mall in Bandar Utama, the driver asked where I was headed and I told him Segambut. He refused to send me there, citing traffic jam. I told him to use the Penchala Link but he was adamant and I had to get out. I took down his plate number and sent an sms to 33399. To my surprise, the message could not be delivered and I was asked to call 03-7955 7736 during office hours. I managed to board another taxi that brought me there in less than 20 minutes but it cost me RM13.60 for the ride, which I think is a good income.

I travel frequently to our supposedly poorer neighbour country, Indonesia. Almost all the taxis there are Toyota Vios with leather seats.

I am not saying Toyota is superior but at least, we should not allow the noisy, bone-breaking, even smelly old cars to be used as taxis. It is also ridiculous for the couponed taxis in a particular mall to charge RM30 for a ride to Segambut – in a dilapidated Wira with a long-haired taxi driver!

Taxi drivers of the more reputable companies in Indonesia are well-mannered, well-dressed and well-trained. Once, I sat in a taxi that had a flat tyre. When the Indonesian driver realised that, he apologised, asked for permission to replace the tyre and promised to get it done in less than 5 minutes. He even left the air-conditioner on and insisted I stay in the taxi and stopped the meter.

True enough, we got going again in less than five minutes. Now, that’s service par excellence.


Kuala Lumpur.

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