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Good news for commuters. Fares for Teksi 1Malaysia (TEKS1M) will be lower beginning next month, The Sun reports. TEKS1M fares, which are currently higher than that of budget taxis, will be rationalised to the same level as their budget counterparts.

Currently, the TEKS1M fare starts from RM4, plus 30 sen for every 200m while the budget taxi flagfall rate starts from RM3 plus 25 sen for every 200m. The time-based charge for budget taxis is 25 sen for every 36 seconds while it is 30 sen for every 36 seconds for TEKS1M.

However, this will only be mandatory for new TEKS1Ms. “The existing TEKS1M fleet will have the option of remaining at the present fare structure until the expiry of the vehicle age limit,” said Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah.

This move, which many drivers welcome, is part of the government’s Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP), and it involves rebranding and streamlining for the long term as well. New budget cabs will be rebranded as TEKS1M with a colour scheme of red and white from next month, and new TEKS1Ms will no longer be in gold and brown, the colour it was launched in.

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Once again, this rebranding is only for new taxis, especially those with a new individual taxi operator licence. Existing budget cabs will remain in their respective colours. These old cabs will only go through the rebranding when their taxi permits expire. When that time comes, the Proton Iswaras will be phased out for models with a minimum three-star rating from ASEAN NCAP.

The SPAD boss also confirmed that the zonal fare system that was gazetted during the previous Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board era will be phased out gradually. “Zonal fare will be replaced by a distance based calculation to ensure consistency and fairness to taxi drivers at terminals and airports,” he said.

The zonal fare queue system is currently practised by the KL International Airport, Skypark Subang Airport, KL Sentral, other international entry points in Peninsula Malaysia and some shopping malls in the Klang Valley. Mohd Azharuddin also encouraged cabbies to embrace booking apps to increase efficiency.

More on the Taxi Industry Transformation Programme (TITP), which will also legalise and regulate Uber and Grab cars, here.