The Expat is a Malaysia-produced magazine catering to obviously… expatriates.
However, that does not stop it, in a recent publication, from condemning Malaysia’s taxi fleet as the worst in the world.
200 foreigners from 30 countries took part in a survey done by the magazine and among 23 countries compared, Malaysia finished last when judged by taxi quality, courtesy, availability and expertise.
Yes, worse than even Thailand and Indonesia. There drivers are apparently far more courteous.
In fact, comments were very strong, including “a source of national shame” and “a serious threat to tourists – rude bullies and extortionists“.
And locals are not spared either.
Having also used taxis in Great Britain, Singapore and Japan, I feel inclined to agree with the survey results.
More often than not, we’d encounter below-par service and unfriendly taxi drivers with their vehicles in sorry conditions.
Most of them would refuse to use the meter (using the term “flat rate”), overcharge and are choosy about destinations.
An example in the magazine is typical: A Norwegian couple in downtown Kuala Lumpur wanting to go back to their hotel located less than 2 km away being charged RM25 “flat rate” instead of the RM2+ if the meter was used.
Why this is so?
Lack of enforcement, due to corruption in the police and bureaucracy.
Why is this important?
First impressions of a visitor to a country is most often a taxi driver, which is his/her first direct contact with a local.
Solutions in sight
New taxi operators like Citicab have entered the market. offering pricier but quality services. The drivers are uniformed, use the meter without asking and would go to any destination.
Yahoo News, 18th Sept 2008