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Tuesday, 26 March 2013 13:54
Filepic of a passenger trying to land a cab. With 37,000 taxis operating in the Klang Valley, the competition for getting permits is already very tense.PETALING JAYA: In a move to overcome the problem of rogue cabbies, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will be introducing a taxi driver screening programme.
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said taxi drivers would have their background scrutinised before they were allowed to drive besides signing a Service Level Agreement.
"SPAD will also be compiling a driver's database system incorporating the driver's details to ease monitoring and enforcement processes."
He warned that any offence committed by taxi drivers would be dealt with severely.
Last Tuesday, police arrested a hardcore criminal in Banting, who had a taxi permit and had used his cab to commit 37 cases of assault, abduction, robbery and rape with 11 accomplices, including three women, this year.
Syed Hamid advised passengers, especially women, to look out for the taxi driver's card on the dashboard.
"Make sure the picture of the taxi driver is the same as the driver's card on display."
To further protect passengers, he said SPAD would make it compulsory for cabbies to fix the driver's card behind their seats and the front passenger's headrest.
Syed Hamid said they would use the full force of the law to ensure it was adhered to and passengers protected at all times.
As part of SPAD's passenger safety program, he said they were working on an improvement plan, which includes newer and better technologies for the service, such as a monitored ticketing tracking system.
Limit permits for new cabs, say taxi associations
Taxi associations have called upon SPAD to control the number of permits given for new taxis.
They claim that at present, there are at least 37,000 taxis operating in the Klang Valley and the competition was already very tense.
Malaysia Taxi/Limousine Drivers and Operators Association (Petekma) president, Yusof Lahir said SPAD should work out some form of mechanism to ensure there is control over the number of taxis on the road.
"As it is now, we find it difficult finding passengers and at times, making our daily rental payments is also difficult. While we thank the prime minister for the recent 1,000 permits, we also appeal to the government for some control mechanism," he said.
He also suggested that SPAD convert several company-held taxi permits which are more than five years to individual permits.
"Since some of the companies had gained enough profits within the five year period, it is timely that these permits be given to individuals.
"At the same time, priority should be given to the drivers who have leased the taxi from them all this time," he said.
Another way to decrease the burden of taxi drivers, said Yusof, was to reduce the rental charges.
"After five years, the permit holder could consider reducing the charges from RM50 to RM20."
Malaysian Taxi Drivers Claims Movement (Teksi) chairman, Mohamad Ridzwan Mohamad Daud said the issuing of permits should be fair and just, and not used as a political gimmick.
"I went to the SPAD office recently and they told me all applications are frozen. Suddenly, the government is giving out 1,000 permits...how is this (possible)?" he asked.
He said there were numerous things which could be done to improve the livelihoods of taxi drivers and one was to make the issuing of permits more transparent.
He said if the process was transparent, then everyone could stand a fair chance at getting a permit.
Rajvinder Singh & Ikram Ismail / The Malay Mail