This is written by me, a local KL cab driver. Just a note for local taxi drivers plus tourists to KL and Malaysia in general.
I last drove a KL cab 9 years ago in mid-2002 and started to drive a KL taxi again just this week… April 2011. So much for improvement up the socio-economic ladder! OK, OK… KL taxi drivers are an opportunistic lot… they have to be because of the long working hours for a nett profit of RM30-50/day. And many a time, the daily take is half of that! In USD/AUD $, that’s between $10-18/day for 10 hours or more on the road. This daily nett take has not changed much for KL taxi men since 2001. So saying, the government is not doing cab drivers any favour by increasing the dollar/km taxi rate in July 2009. It is effectively cancelled out by inflation and rising taxi rental fees, petrol and NGV prices.
Admittedly, the number of errand taxi drivers exceed honest cab drivers. Many love waiting in lines outside shopping malls, others like the 4-5 star hotel circuits. Some have blogs and websites announcing their services but never seem to charge their published rates once they snare a tourist. Meters? Some find it bothersome to flick it ‘ON’. Some are definitely RUDE, THREATENING and LOUD.
At Least Do This: The ‘how-to’ in getting KL taxis?
1. Avoid taxi parked just outside mall and hotel entrances. 90% are scumbags.
2. If a taxi rank exist, immediately ‘Ask’ if they use the meter. DO NOT get into the taxi when doing so, just open the door and ask. Get in if the answer is YES. Repeat process twice and walk away from the taxi rank if the answer is still NO.
3. Hail a Taxi a few meters (say 30-50metres) away from the taxi rank or group of taxi drivers. Chances are a taxi will stop and take you using a meter. Always remember to ask on ‘meter use’ first.
4. Remember this: Taxis in KL and Selangor use meters (they should anyway) only in urban areas/city limits. Inter-city fares are negotiated and generally reflect fair fares. I carry a fare list for inter-city travel to make sure I don’t short-change myself or my passenger!
5. On inter-city trips, if you ride in a metered taxi or ‘Teksi Bermeter’, that taxi ride is yours and yours only for that trip! Never get on a cab with ‘Kereta Sewa’ markings on its roof and doors. It is actually a Hired Car (it is a legal cab by the way)! It means the driver can and will stop along the way to pick up other passengers before dropping you off. Chances are he will quote you a figure higher than a metered taxi and ask your fellow passengers to do like wise. So he then goes home early after getting twice or triple the going rate. They exist, so be WARNED!
6. Any trip to KLIA or LCCT attract a standard (legal) RM12 surcharge in addition to toll fares for metered taxis. It is the law under Circular 8 of CVLB, 2009.
7. KL taxis can go as far as Cameron Highlands (not Ipoh, OK) in the north and Port Dickson/ Malacca down south.
8. Last but not least, always hint to a BAD BOY taxi driver you will report his taxi and/or his name to JPJ (Road Transport Dept) or LPKP (Comm. Vehicle Licensing Board). Use the Malay acronyms OK? They know they will earn demerit points if queried and proven guilty.
Alternative: Use the KTM Komuter inter-city train or the LRT or Monorel service if you feel you are not in any hurry to explore the city.
Fair taxi drivers exist in KL. But they are the minority. Remember, not many taxi drivers drive for the joy of it. Many cut corners, overcharging and the tourists’ problems usually start from that point onwards.
But, if any out there do feel a need to take a taxi in Kuala Lumpur (KL) or Selangor or Malacca any time soon, give me a call at +60 14 6277046 (from outside Malaysia) or just 014 6277046. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I may be able to help you get to your destination or point you to someone who can.