Cabbies in Malaysia have no one to turn to

Cabbies in Malaysia have no one to turn to

PETALING JAYA: Despite having nearly 10,000 complaints lodged against them last year, taxi drivers are grumbling that they have no one to turn to when they are cheated or abused by their customers.

Cabbie Karam Singh, 41, for instance, claimed that a group of foreigners he took to Genting Highlands from Kuala Lumpur ran away as he was dropping them off.

"They used an app to book my taxi and the fare was more than RM100 (S$37.30). But when I stopped at the hotel (in Genting), they opened the car doors and ran off!

"I called the app administrator and asked them to help me but they told me - 'Sorry, there's nothing we can do.' Who do I complain to?" he asked angrily at an LRT station here yesterday.

Karam said customers running off without paying was normal for him, adding that this happened three times a month.

During the launch of the taxi reporting app MeterOn on Wednesday, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) said that in 2014, 9,892 complaints were lodged against cabbies.

This was an increase from the 5,423 in 2013 and 3,402 in 2012.With the MeterOn app - which covers over 50,000 licensed taxis in the peninsula - the public can use this to verify their drivers and check to see if they are being cheated.

Another driver, Barakath Ali Kamarudin, 47, said some customers were verbally abusive when they did not get what they wanted.

He said a man once shouted at him for failing to turn into an intended road.

"I was taking him to his house but he didn't tell me which road I was supposed to turn into. Why do people think we can read minds?" he asked, adding that other customers who felt that their rides should be cheaper than what the meter showed would shout at him.

"The customer is always right," he said with a sigh.

Maharadin Yusop, 51, alleged that while there were drivers who heavily overcharged, the authorities tended to go after those who did not.

"If I charge 40 sen more for a trip, I will kena (get punished). But those who charge RM40 more are never caught," he claimed.

He said he was also unhappy with the recent taxi fare hike, adding that this was not enough to cover spare parts made more expensive by the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

"The passengers, they can complain. But we, who can we complain to? Where do we go?" he asked.

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