Thursday, October 12, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 3:24 pm

Latest news update!

Taxi commuters will soon be flagging down the Toyota Camry in Malaysia. It represents another laudable improvement in the battle by the Government of Malaysia to boost its public transportation which has come under intense criticism in recent months.

You think the above news is real? Get real. But down south, our neighbour Singapore is doing it for real. According to a recent report dated 10th october, 2006, the Toyota Camry - arguably Singapore's most popular Japanese executive saloon will be used as taxis in the island republic. The taxi companies are searching for suitable cars so that they do not run foul of the stricter Euro IV emission standard for diesel vehicles there. Oh by the way, it only costs S$40,000.00 to buy a Camry running on Compressed Natural Gas.

Which brings to us our taxi fleets in Malaysia.

We all like to compare Malaysia with Singapore, don't we? Sibling rivalries some say. After all, Singapore was part of Malaysia before it sought its own independence. So, in a way, Singapore is a younger sibling. And what has our younger sibling achieved over the years? No, we shall not comment on their sporting prowess (not that we have much to shout about save for perhaps, Nicol David) but let us just talk about taxis for today.

Have you taken a taxi in Singapore? Just wave your hand and the taxi will stop for you. I used the word "will" because they actually WILL stop for you. No ifs no buts. And you will be greeted by a nice clean taxi...most likely, a roomy Toyota Crown or Nissan Cedric with clean upholstery and smells decent. The air-conditioning works and the stereo is kept to civil volume. Wherever you want to go on the island, the driver will take you. No ifs no buts. Your destination is not dependant on the traffic condition. In fact, Singaporeans have no qualms taking taxis as a form of public transport. They find it efficient (isn't Singapore?). Using meters for the ride is almost as natural as releasing the parking brake prior to driving. Check out the rates here.

Let's just cross over the causeway to our Malaysia Boleh. Right to KL, shall we? We can't be comparing Singapore with say, Kota Bahru. Let's give ourselves our best shot and see where we fare. Afterall, the tallest building in KL is taller than the tallest building in Singapore. So, at least KL can compete in some ways or another.

What do we have for taxis? You are most likely to find Proton Iswaras and Wiras on the road. I think they also cost around RM40,000.00 (on the average) which, if you ask me on a dollar-to-dollar comparison, the Singaporean taxis and commuters are getting a better deal for their money. Some of these taxis have artificial / synthetic leather seats which are so thick and plush, you'll be begging for extra legroom if you happen to be a little on the tall side. If the air-conditioning works, great! If it doesn't, just ignore the cigarette smoke the driver is puffing or the haze outside.

Wave your hand for a taxi! You should count yourself blessed if a taxi stops for you in the first place. The general rule of thumb is "the taxi may stop for you if you wave". If they decide to drive you to your destination, you should count yourself doubly blessed that day. Otherwise, it will be usual replies like "Sana jam lah, tak mau". Thirdly, give yourself a big hug for being triple blessed if they reset the meter for your journey. At least, that saves you from having to use your negotiation skills to haggle the price for the journey. When you reach your destination though, make sure that the meter wasn't even tampered in the first place! And of course, you must make sure that you also know how to get to your destination as some of these taxi drivers will ask you for the directions to get to your destination!

If you are at places like KLCC or certain KTM Komuter stations like Serdang, you will be at the mercy of the taxi drivers there. They prefer flat rates a.k.a. meter is for aesthetic purposes only. The commuters know it and have cried foul many times such that it is no more worth its piece of news already. Every now and then, you will hear the authorities making threats to come down hard on these errand cabbies. But somehow, the taxi drivers and taxi companies in Singapore are more law abiding than their elder siblings in Malaysia.

Why is that so? I will give a simple analogy which goes like this.

Child slaps younger sibling.
Mother : "Why did you do that? I will cane you the next time you hit your younger sibling!"
Child : "I won't do it mummy. I will be good".

Next day, child slaps younger sibling again.

Mother : "Didn't I tell you not to hit your younger sibling? This is the last warning!"
Child : I promise I will not do it again.

Two days later, the younger sibling gets another slap.

Mother : "I am warning you!"
Child : *immune already to all these empty threats and thinks aloud* Next time you don't see, I will continue my slaps.

Younger sibling also gets immune to these slaps already and takes it as a fact of life.

In Singapore, you give a slap, you get two or three in return and let's see if you dare to slap again! In Malaysia, you give a slap, you get a few earfuls followed by an indirect assurance that semuanya ok!

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At 8:11 pm, Blogger cleomy

You are 90% correct when you say that when you flag down a cab in Spore, they will stop. You are 100% that they will use the meter here. In Spore, you are blessed if you get a london/skoda/benz when you flag it down.

In Spore, it's nearly impossible to get a cab near midnite as they will wait for the 50% surcharge, so the gomen implemented stagged pricing when it comes close to midnite - but the situation has not changed.

Also, it's impossible to get cab during rush hour in the evening cause that's when the cab drivers change shift (same like Msia).

Lastly, cabbies here are choosy too... try going to Woodlands/Sengkang at nite say around 9pm. No cabs will take you there cause there won't be any passangers that want to go 'out' from the heartlands. Yup, Sporean are a boring lot.

That's my 2 cents.


At 12:53 am, Anonymous earl-ku

ha ... to challenge proton perdana i think ... but then step in its RM4 or more?


At 11:10 am, Blogger toniXe

our younger sibling is now tai kor u know.

v r now called pariah !

everyday here is a bad ( n corrupted ) day !


At 2:41 pm, Blogger PabloPabla

cleomy : Whilst I may have exaggerated a bit, I think all-in-all, it is still a better experience taking a taxi in Singapore than in KL.

earl_ku : I think the Perdanas are wanna-bes compared to the Camry.

tonixe : But tai kor still think that younger sibling will always be younger sibling and never be better. But don't get me wrong. I am a Malaysian and I love my country. Just that I feel much more could be done to make this country a better place.


At 3:49 pm, Blogger praveen

f you are at places like KLCC or certain KTM Komuter stations like Serdang

haha...u had that experience at Serdang too..Their flat rates start at RM 10 to UPM which is less than a five minute drive away. If they were to use the meter it would be only RM3++

These cabbies still make money however because many UPM students are just left with no choice and are at their mercy!