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The plan to introduce a new small car-based taxi service isn’t even in the pipeline yet, but it’s already drawing an unfavourable view. This, from regular taxi drivers, who have begun voicing their concern over the move, Bernama reports.

Taxi drivers in KL, already feeling the impact of declining income due to the competition brought about by Uber and GrabCar ride-sharing services, say that they are worried that their takings will be further affected if the proposed introduction of the mini taxi service becomes a reality.

Yesterday, it was reported that the government was studying a proposal for the new service, which will utilise small engine displacement models such as the Perodua Axia, with the benefits of such a service being low maintenance costs for such vehicles and cheaper rates for customers.

Taxi drivers, however, aren’t sharing such a positive view. A taxi driver interviewed by the national news agency said that his income had been on the decline since ride-searing services had emerged on the scene, and the idea of yet more competition isn’t appealing.

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“If the proposal is approved, taxi drivers like us will have more difficulties in getting customers and our income will continue to drop,” he said, adding that the mini taxis would create more competition among existing taxi drivers as they would offer a more economical price to passengers.

Another taxi driver said he hoped that the authorities would take measures to ensure that the new service will not affect income of existing taxi operators. “It is already difficult for us to earn a living as a taxi driver with Uber and Grabcar services being the preferred customers’ choice,” he said. The driver said he used to earn RM100 a day, but the amount was dwindling.

Deputy transport minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) was studying the possibility of introducing the service. He added that the new service will not affect conventional taxi businesses, as it will cater only to those traveling from any Light Rail Transit (LRT) station to their home, within a certain proximity.