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‘We provide the best for our drivers’

 | February 20, 2012

Budget limousine taxi company ALM says that despite making a small profit, it provides a wide range of benefits for its drivers.

PETALING JAYA: Managing a taxi company is not only tough but it also takes time to make profit. Despite that, the company still strives to provide the best for the drivers, said an officer from Airport Limo Malaysia Sdn Bhd (ALM).

Responding an earlier FMT article, ALM’s head of legal affairs Amir Reza Hamzah said the rental charges imposed on drivers were reasonable taking into consideration the perks offered to them.

“We are the only taxi company in Malaysia that foots hospitalisation bills not only for the drivers but also their immediate family members. In 2009 alone, we paid about RM1.4 million to private hospitals in medical expenses,” he added.

Last week, an ALM source accused the company of raking in huge profits at the expense of poor budget limousine taxi drivers by imposing a high daily rental.

Apart from imposing a deposit worth more that RM5,000 for a cab, the drivers were also made to pay about RM152 in daily rental.

“While the company makes more than RM3 million a month, the drivers have to work between 16 and 18 hours daily just to make about RM3,000 a month,” the source had alleged.

Loans provided as well

Amir, on the other hand, explained that the daily rental charges covered a wide range of benefits offered to the drivers.

For just RM5 welfare charge daily, he said, ALM not only foots a driver’s hospitalisation bill but also provided various loans for them, including personal and education loans for their children.

“And the sub-daily charges is only imposed on drivers who could not make the full deposit payment before taking the cab. So, we deduct a small fee daily until the deposit has been paid,” said Amir.

On the additional welfare fee of RM10, Amir said the fund was called Savings for Major Repairs (STBM) and the money was pooled to cover major breakdowns involving their taxis.

“After two years, the taxis will need overhaul and there are chances it will breakdown due to constant use. When it needs repair, it’s not always that the drivers have the money to do it and this is where the STBM fund comes in handy,” he said, adding that it also covered accidents.

Amir said that 75% of the money was refunded back to the drivers annually. “If they quit from ALM, we will also return the money to the drivers,” he added.

On the RM1 insurance charges, Amir said the the sum was collected not to insure the cars but the drivers.

“In the event of a death, the driver’s family will receive RM80,000. As for the budget cars, which are Proton Waja, they are all covered under a first party insurance for RM10,000,” he said.

SPAD is aware of charges

As for the RM2 deducted from the travelling coupons, Amir said the amount was to cover costs to provide the best budget limousine service to customers.

“Among others, it covers the rental costs of our six ticket counters at the international arrival area in KLIA and three counters at the domestic arrival, which we pay to the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB),” he said.

He said that the money was also used to cover the costs of employing 40 staff manning the ticket counters which operate round-the-clock.

“We also need to employ an additional 50 enforcement staff to ensure none of our customers wait for more than 10 minutes for a cab at KLIA. Failing to do so, the authorities will come after us,” he said, referring to the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

Amir added that SPAD was aware of the charges imposed on the drivers and ALM submitted reports to the former.

“It’s because of our commitment to quality that we received numerous awards for our service and we are also a recipient of the ISO 9001,” he said.

On drivers working more than 16 hours a day, Amir said it boiled down to how the drivers managed their time.

“There are some drivers I know who only make four trips a day and still make about RM3,000 a month,” he said, adding that drivers were also alloted two rental free days in a month.

Amir said if any of the drivers was unwell, ALM had provided a list of over 400 co-drivers who were willing to drive the taxis during their absence.

“So if the main drivers want rest, they can always contact our co-drivers to take over from them,” he added.

Contacted later, SPAD corporate communication executive Nur Balkish Hood said she would provide comments on the matter soon after checking with the relevant departments.

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