SEPANG - It's a spanking new airport boasting of the latest facilities, but taxi drivers have a lot of complaints about KLIA2.
They claimed that they had to park their vehicles under solar roofing some 8km from KLIA2 while they wait for the cue to pick up passengers from the terminal building.
The shaded parking area in Jalan KLIA1 does not have sufficient seats, food stalls or nearby toilets for drivers who have to wait an average of two to four hours before being called to pick up passengers, according to their association.
"We have to wait under the sun for hours and if it pours, the rain will fall through the gaps in the roof.
"The nearest toilet is about a 1km walk from where our taxis are parked. Hence, we prefer to relieve ourselves in the bushes near the parking bays," said KLIA2 Airport Taxi Drivers' Welfare Association president Vela Ranggasamy.
The association, which claims to represent some 2,000 airport taxi drivers, is demanding basic facilities for its members, including a sheltered rest area, nearby toilets with shower stalls and a canteen.
There are 1,552 budget taxis, 250 premier taxis and 95 family vans servicing KLIA and KLIA2 passengers using the coupon system, and Vela said these drivers spend an average of 12 to 18 hours at work per day.
"We are carrying the image of Malaysia because taxi drivers are usually the first people to receive tourists from the airport.
"How can we be expected to perform our job well if our health concerns and basic needs are not taken care of?
"We want those responsible to fulfil our basic needs immediately," he told reporters to cheers from some 100 taxi drivers.
Vela claimed that their income had been reduced by more than half since operations at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal moved to KLIA2 on May 2.
This was due to competition from metered and executive taxis which were also allowed to pick up passengers at the new airport, he said.
"With the new competition from the metered taxis, we would be lucky if we can get even two trips per day," he said.