Thursday, March 19, 2015

Damn If They Do, Damn If They Don't

SPAD: Higher Taxi & Bus Fares

There is never a good time to raise fares because consumers are directly affected.

I say it is about time.

If I hadn't known about how little cabbies in the is country make a month in earnings, I would have responded as anyone would to price increase -- in anger.

And it is easy to only see one side because we see and hear from only one side -- the consumers whom we have always regarded to be the aggrieved party.

I mean, haven't we heard of errant taxi drivers who do not use their meters and cheat not only tourists but Malaysians? Time and again.
How could they have got away with their shenanigans all this while?

What about the rogue cabbies at KLCC who make life hell for people and other cabbies?

Where is the enforcement?
What have the enforcement authorities been doing?

This was not happening just yesterday. It's been happening for decades.

People feel that the way our taxis operate is like a Third World country. You can't trust them. So we need to have coupons and tickets at the airports and train stations.

We should have overhauled and cleaned up the taxi services along with taxi ownership and fare structure a long time ago so that today we have a system that we can be proud of.

That being said, I must confess that I am among people who do not need to take taxis to move round the city.  I used to during my pre-car-ownership days in the mid 70s.

My complaint then would be that cabbies were selective of destinations and many refused to use meters during peak/rush hours.

Anyway, today, I would have ordinarily been rather caustic in response to the announcement by SPAD (The Land Public Transport Commission) today of taxi&bus fare increase but after looking from their side, I empathise and sympathise.

Most cabbies make less than RM2,000 - many as little as RM800  - a month. They have to make daily payments for their taxis to companies or individuals. It is tough. How to live like that?

For details read  the latest posting by Another Brick In The Wall "Plight of Cab Drivers".

The last taxi & bus fare increase was in 2009.

Let's face it. Prices of so many things have gone up. The cost of living is madness today -- so seems only right and fair that these fares go up. And it is not was though they are going be 100 times richer.

As for SPAD -- obviously they will be brutalised by angry consumers/commuters and well,  political machais.

But it is true -- damn if they don't, damn if they do.  Te devil and the deep blue sea,

Now here's where I would like to rant.

When I began working back in the late 70s, the first thing I wanted to own was a car. I dreaded having to take cabs to move around to get to work, assignments and home. It was the way the taxis operate.

Then when the call-a-cab operations came into being, it was a bit better.

I didn't like take buses because of their schedule.

The moment I could afford a car, I bought one.

And then there was the taxi system at the airports. So Third World until today. I don't know the rationale but I understand it is an ugly legacy or baggage from an era gone by.

Here's the thing - there are more than 30,000 cabbies in the Klang Valley. People still need them. Even with a fantastic bus or rail transport system, people will still need taxis for convenience.

With the  first phase of the  MRT to be in operation by end of next year, taxis will face some stiff competition for sure.

I'd like to see the authorities overhaul the taxi operation system/structure. Clean it up. Raise it. Enhance it. Make it profitable for cabbies and of value to commuters.

Listen. The last time taxi&bus fares were raised was in 2009. That is so cavalier.

Why did the government NOT review the fares since then?

That is so sloppy and negligent. Inexcusable to neglect this sector.

But let's not gripe and bitch. Let's mvd forward.

Let's look at some workable models from other countries that we can adapt and use.

If we have this lethargic mindset to not want to change, we deserve all that's not going right for us.

I'm no transport expert but even I can say that there surely is a win-win system.

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