TRANSIT is happy to hear the latest news that SPAD is actively pursuing errant taxi drivers who refuse to use meters.
By Nuradzimmah Daim
KUALA LUMPUR: A taxi driver thought he could get away with asking for a RM20 fare from Bukit Bintang to KLCC from two passengers.
Little did he know that the passengers were actually enforcement officers from the Public Land Transport Commission (SPAD) who were carrying out operations to nab errant taxi drivers.
[TRANSIT: We once heard from the CVLB that their enforcement officers were ‘recognized’ by cab drivers who proceeded to overcharge them anyways. Hopefully SPAD enforcement officers will not have the same defeatist attitude as the CVLB]
After dropping off the “passengers”, he was asked to pull over by other officers who were already carrying out operations against taxi drivers who refused to use the meter.
[TRANSIT: Did the officers ask to check the meter? Print a receipt? Was there a complaint from the passengers? Either way, good to see action being taken.]
The man, in his 30s, expressed regrets for his action and promised not to repeat it, but it did not save him from being slapped with a fine and given 14 days to explain his action to the commission.
The commission’s enforcement and training general manager Maj-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Paduka Che Hasni Che Ahmad, who led the 57-man team in the joint-operations with the police and City Hall, said the offender was among the 128 taxi drivers checked during the two-hour operations in the city centre.
“The fare is normally less than RM10 for that particular destination. He will be fined RM500 for failing to comply with the terms of taxi permit under the Land Public Transport Act and needs to come and explain why he didn’t use the meter. If he fails to do so, we will issue a show-cause letter and after a period of time, if he still fails to respond, he may be charged in court.
[TRANSIT: Actions speak louder than words – the RM500 fine is good but many people do not pay their summonses. There are also a lot of words like “if” and “may” being used.]
“We have received numerous complaints about drivers refusing to use meter, especially in tourist spots like the city centre. We will continue with our enforcement until the taxi drivers understand that it doesn’t pay to cheat passengers.
“I also believe the word will go around among the drivers and they should think twice before haggling for taxi fare.
“The ops will also be carried out in other areas.”
Under Section 75 of the [Land Public Transport] Act, an offender found guilty of demanding and collecting excessive fare may face a maximum fine of RM50,000 and three years’ imprisonment.
Che Hasni said the operations was [sic] carried out in Jalan Bukit Bintang, KLCC, Puduraya, Jalan Petaling, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Ampang, Pasar Seni, Leboh Ampang, Jalan Tun HS Lee, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Jalan Silang and [the] Sogo area.
During the enforcement exercise, two taxi drivers had their vehicles towed by the police after they failed to show their public service vehicle licence.
Other offences include[d] traffic obstruction, leaving their taxi to solicit passengers, not queuing up at taxi stand, driving without a taxi permit and dressing inappropriately.
The drivers of a bus express, transit bus, and private vehicle were also fined for obstructing traffic.
TRANSIT Says: Well done! We hope enforcement will be done (and more importantly, seen to be done) in other areas too. A complaint letter that appears today in Utusan on errant taxi drivers around Kelana Jaya LRT station should serve as a reminder to SPAD that more works need to be done.
Sadly, this kind of task is ‘never-ending’ and the rewards are few – so we encourage you to do the best and nicest thing you can possibly do when you see SPAD enforcement officers doing their job:
Say “thank you for a job well done.”