Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kuala Lumpur taxi drivers are the worst in the world, Thailand tops 3rd spot

I have been to quite a lot of places around the world and according to my experience, Taxi drivers in Malaysia, but particularly in Kuala Lumpur are the worst in the world. Although I have learned to use the public transportation in Kuala Lumpur (I go there often for business), I unfortunately need to take a taxi sometimes and I have never had a ride without a scam, small (like double the price of what you should pay) or big in the scale of theft. They refuse to open the taxi meter and if you insist, they may be overaggressive, they detour and they always overcharge.

Well I am not alone, according to londoncabs.co.uk KL taxi drivers tops the list for worst of the world:
Drivers from Kuala Lumpur are well known for overcharging clients and detouring. Even though they are supposed to charge by the meter, many drivers refuse from doing so. The best advice is to simply wait for another vehicle if the driver resists from using the taximeter. Cars in Kuala Lumpur can often be rather old and in poor condition.

Recently Natalie Heng from Kuala Lumpur gave a very good account of how KL taxi drivers well deserve their top position in the list:
In all, I took five cabs, and surveyed six more, trying to get a fare comparison. Not a single one used the meter, and all had an ingenious excuse: Friday prayers, very bad traffic jam, hard to find customers, the machine is broken ... Out of five cabbies I asked to take me to Muzium Negara, about 4.5km away, one wanted RM15, another RM20, still another RM25 and the other two RM30. 
Of all the taxi drivers I met that day, the only taxi driver who did not overcharge was a man in his early 60s. He didn't use the meter when he took me from Jalan Tun H.S. Lee to Pavilion in Bukit Bintang and his asking price was RM10, the only fare to almost match Malaysia Taxi Auto Fare's calculations. That's one in 11. The cabbies I encountered may not have been as nasty and rude as they have been made out to be. But when it comes to refusing to use the meter and fleecing the passenger, it seems all too sadly true.

Taxi in Singapore
Natalie Heng masqueraded as a tourist in Kuala Lumpur and found out that KL drivers are
doing their best to keep the worst in the world reputation.
And KL taxi drivers are not only continuing to be the worst in the world, they also want offences forgiven despite rising complaints:

The taxi drivers have demanded the Land Public Transport Commission SPAD to erase all summonses issued by the various enforcement authorities to ease the renewal process of their taxi driver cards But most media are carrying reports that these group of city taxi drivers are charging higher rates for short distances and not using their meters.
“They taxi drivers asked for a total wipe out of all their recorded summonses from the database ” SPAD communication manager Noor Hisham Mohd Taha told The Malaysian Insider.[3]

Another South East Asian nation famous with all kinds of tourist scams and very bad taxi drivers, Thailand, is surprisingly third (I would expect it to be number 2):

Although many consider Bangkok, Thailand to have some of the best minicab drivers in the world, there are many drivers and tuk-tuk drivers that do not know the way. Some travelers expect that they get lost on purpose for a larger fare, but the truth is that many drivers in Bangkok are out of work farmers simply trying to make some extra money.[2]

[1] - KL cabbies living up to ‘worst taxi drivers in the world’ reputation
[2] - 10 Countries with the Worst Drivers
[3] - Despite rising complaints, KL cabbies want offences forgiven

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