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This week, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is set to announce a new taxi fare structure, which could see a hike in fares of up to 40%, The Malay Mail reports.

Sources have told the English-language daily that the proposed new rates for Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bahru metered taxis are as follows:

  • Flag-down fare: RM3.30 for Klang Valley and Johor Bahru budget taxis (currently RM3), RM4 for Teksi 1Malaysia (currently RM3) and RM4.30 for Penang budget taxis (currently RM4)
  • 25 sen for every 200 metres (40% up from the current 87 sen per km, effectively RM1.25 per km)
  • 25 sen for every 30 seconds (40% up from the current 10 sen per 21 seconds)

As such, ever-increasing urban congestion could see heavy charges for the passenger – for instance, if he/she were to be stuck in a colossal jam in a budget cab that moved only one kilometre in the span of an hour, the meter would at that point clock RM1.25 and RM30.

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However, an industry observer told The Malay Mail that the new fare structure could encourage taxi drivers to go into the city instead of circling suburban areas, citing the oft-heard excuse of refusing to drive to certain locations due to heavy traffic.

The daily reports that SPAD may provide a grace period of up to six weeks for taxi drivers and companies to synchronise and calibrate their meters.

According to a source from the Prime Minister’s Department, the new fare structure is the result of a series of in-depth discussions in taxi workshops around the country since July 2013.

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“SPAD took into consideration that for the past six years, the cost of living has gone up by around 2.5% each year. Cabbies have had to curb high costs such as escalating maintenance costs between 20% and 25%, fuel expenses by 17%, battery by 30% to 35% and tyres by 25% to 30%,” the source said.

The Malay Mail reports that the new fare structure will also involve taxi services for car rental companies (or kereta sewa), but the details here are yet unknown.

The Centralised Taxi Service System announced in Budget 2014, the daily reports, is a tracking system that can record taxi movements and meter data. The system is currently fitted to nearly 900 Teksi 1Malaysia vehicles in the Klang Valley and Johor Bahru, and will be installed in metered cabs in stages.