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As reported earlier, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has announced a revised taxi and express bus fare structure today. While the flag down rate for budget taxis remain at RM3 in the Klang Valley (RM4 in Penang), the time and distance rates have now been revamped to cost 25 sen for every 200 metres or and/or every 36 seconds.

The flag down rate for Teksi1Malaysia, on the other hand, has been revised to RM4. It will now cost passengers 30 sen for every 200 metres travelled, as reported by The Star. Aside from taxis, express bus fares have also been confirmed to increase by 2.1 sen to 11.4 sen per kilometre travelled from April 1.

In reference to the SPAD fact sheet, this would mean a ticket price of RM25.30 for a journey from Kuala Lumpur Ipoh – an increase over the previous figure of RM20.60. The new prices are set to coincide with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the start of next month.

A grace period of two months is offered to taxi drivers to calibrate their meters, of which they can then start charging according to the new rate. As for stage buses, no announcement has been made regarding a revamp of the fare structure.

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SPAD chief executive, Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal, told Free Malaysia Today that the revised fares were likely to work in favour of the passengers as drivers would now be more willing to ferry them during peak hours. “(Before the hike)… taxi drivers (dealt) with the situation by not driving during peak hours,” he said.

The increase in the “time charge” has been implemented to compensate taxi drivers for “opportunity cost of travelling in congestion,” SPAD added. The last fare revision was executed in 2009 with Kamal stating that the SPAD was in a “tight spot” trying to offset the balance between affordability and sustainability.

Meanwhile, observers claim that the increase comes at a “less justifiable” moment whereby inflation has been on a downfall due to lowering oil prices. “I think this is not the right time for a fare hike. When inflation has been on a downtrend currently, it is hard for them (SPAD) to justify increasing public transport fares,” said Dr Yeah Kim Leng, an economist at the Malaysia University of Science and Technology, to The Edge.