PETALING JAYA: Two taxi associations have urged the government to abolish the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), saying the Road Transport Department (JPJ) can take over its functions.
Speaking to FMT, KL Selangor Taxi Association secretary S Balakrishnan and Persatuan Transformasi Pemandu Teksi Malaysia (PERS1M) deputy chairman Kamarudin Mohd Hussain alleged that SPAD had brought no improvement to public transportation since its inception in 2010.
Balakrishnan suggested that the commission be absorbed into JPJ, saying the resolution of issues would then be less complicated.
SPAD currently comes under the Prime Minister’s Office.
Kamarudin said all regulatory functions, including the issuance of licences, should come under JPJ to make the management of public transport easier and more efficient.
“The new government seems very aggressive and efficient in resolving problems,” he said. “So we look forward to changes in the public transport sector.”
Balakrishnan said SPAD had failed to resolve the issues raised by taxi drivers, which he claimed had caused them to suffer a loss of income.
For example, he said, SPAD ignored a complaint he once made against differentiation in fare charges between regular red-and-white taxis and the gold-coloured MPVs known as Teksi 1 Malaysia (TEKS1M).
“I told SPAD it was okay to brand the taxis differently, but you can’t have different prices, because then people will just opt for the budget red-and-white taxis.”
The initial fare for a TEKS1M ride is RM4. The passenger is then charged 30 sen for every 200 metres. Drivers of budget taxis charge an initial fare of RM3, followed by 25 sen for every 200 metres.
Balakrishnan proposed maintaining the initial fares, but fixing subsequent charges at 10 sen per 100 metres for both types of taxis.
Kamarudin also urged the government to create its own ride-hailing platform to ensure a fairer deal for taxi drivers.
He said: “Although there is no monopoly on ride-hailing platforms, the market right now is dominated by one company, Grab. So those who are driving for Grab, including taxi drivers, are at the company’s mercy.
“We believe that if the government sets up its own ride-hailing platform, all drivers can enjoy a fairer deal.”
In the run-up to the May 9 election, Balakrishnan presented a memorandum to Pakatan Harapan on behalf of 27 taxi associations from around the country, representing about 10,000 drivers.
The document contained 19 demands, including a call for the uniformity of regulations for ride-hailing and taxi services.
Seremban MP Anthony Loke has been announced as the new transport minister.