KUALA LUMPUR: Big Blue Taxi Services founder Shamsubahrin Ismail has proposed that taxi providers follow his example in running the business to benefit drivers.
Speaking at a press conference at the Big Blue Taxi Services headquarters at Wisma Central here today, Shamsubahrin said he paid his taxi drivers a fixed salary of RM1,500 a month and a commission of 10% from their collected fares for the day.
“This can easily add up to RM3,000 a month for each taxi driver since, at minimum, a taxi driver can easily collect RM500 a day.”
He said while these drivers were serving their contracts, they did not have to pay for any maintenance or extra charges for petrol or gas as it would be borne by the company.
Taxi drivers who finish their five-year contract would be given ownership of the taxi.
“This will help ensure that taxi drivers perform well and ethically when on the job. Customers will also keep booking them because they like the driver.
“I teach my taxi drivers to be disciplined and to respect their customers.
“I tell them that if the customers have children with them, they should help the children into the taxi first.
“This is why customers like them and why they keep booking them. As a result, our income also increases.”
On another matter, Shamsubahrin said the money the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) planned to give to taxi drivers exiting the rental system could be put to better use if it was given to major taxi industry players in the country to supply more taxis instead.
He identified the major taxi providers as Naza Group Malaysia, Sunlight Taxi and Public Cab Sdn Bhd.
Shamsubahrin said in the past, 70% of drivers had failed to pay back their loans, which led to the loss of millions of ringgit.
“Where has that money gone? You have to remember that when the government gives money, it is the people’s money.”
Among the 11 initiatives in SPAD’s Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP), approved by the Cabinet, qualified taxi drivers exiting the rental system will receive a cash grant of RM5,000 from the government to help them purchase a new vehicle.
Shamsubahrin claimed that TITP was not aimed at fixing the flaws in the current taxi industry, but was rather to clear the way to legalise ride-sharing services like Uber and Grab.
He claimed that initiatives that seemed to cater to taxi drivers were only to keep them complacent.
He added it was wrong to clear the way for Uber and Grab without first fixing problems in the current taxi industry.
“In Singapore, they have a very strong taxi industry and very strong Mercedes taxi industry. So they can allow Uber to do business in the country.
“I am not saying that we can never allow Uber, but hold it off for another two or three years to fix the issues in our current taxi industry first.”
Shamsubahrin said he had sent a letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak to meet and discuss the problems with the TITP and what should instead be implemented and enforced.
“If they go ahead with this plan, then the taxi industry will die. If the prime minister does not want to entertain the needs of the taxi drivers, then there’s nothing much we can do about it unless we change the government.
“We want to support Barisan Nasional and I, personally, want to support Najib. But if they don’t care about the industry, then what else are we supposed to do?”