It seems like metered taxis are set for a comeback, as e-hailing fares during peak hours are expensive.
According to Combined Taxi Across Malaysia (GTSM) president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain who spoke to The Sun recently, the number of users opting for traditional metered taxis instead of e-hailing has gone up by 40% and is all due to fare hikes during peak hours.
Malaysians are starting to look for metered taxis
“Passengers, of course, will rejoice whenever e-hailing companies give fare discounts, much to taxi drivers’ chagrin. But at times when e-hailing companies raise their fares too much, passengers will look for taxis,” he said.
“E-hailing fares can be raised (to suit the occasion partly) because the government has not introduced controlled fares (for e-hailing services), as it has for taxis.”
“It (rush-hour fare hike) stems from the way some companies take advantage of peak hours on the grounds of high demand.”
According to the GTSM president, e-hailing fares will continue to rise, and it will probably get out of control when the number of e-hailing taxis decreases even further.
Why are metered taxis cheaper?
“The taxi service is a national land transport service that is fully controlled by the government, including the fares we charge,” he said.
As an example, a Grab fare from Bukit Damansara to Bandar Kinrara costs RM35 during off-peak hours and RM47.10 during peak hours. That’s a 35% increase in price for the same 10km journey.
As a comparison and according to Kamarudin’s calculations on how a metered taxi charges its passengers, a traditional metered taxi would have charged RM11.70 for the same journey as a taxi’s starting fare is RM3, with an additional RM0.10 for every 115 metres it travels.
But of course, that is without the convenience of summoning the metered taxi to your exact location as that will probably cost extra.
Kamaruddin agreed that technological advancements, such as e-hailing services, can benefit the industry and the country, but when the government fails to carry out its responsibilities to properly regulate e-hailing, the service is detrimental to business as well as taxi and e-hailing drivers.
Fares go up during peak hours, public holidays and bad weather conditions
Consumers Association of Penang president Mohideen Abdul Kader said that although Grab fares have not increased permanently for all times of the day, the problem lies in fares becoming ridiculously exorbitant during peak hours, public holidays and bad weather conditions.
“The cost can be double or higher, which is ridiculously exorbitant,” he said.
“For instance, someone who needs to get to work by a certain time will have no choice but to travel during peak hours. Or maybe it is raining, and you feel that it is unsafe to go by bike or bus, so you decide to take a Grab car.”
He also reckons that Grab fares have become exorbitant because there are fewer drivers.
Photo credit: Vulcan Post
The association president carried on saying that e-hailing providers, such as MyCar, Maxim and InDriver, have reasonable fares, but when a customer tries to book a ride, it takes forever to get one or none at all, which is why Grab has a monopoly on e-hailing services despite the decreasing number of drivers.