The merger of taxi companies in Malaysia is on the cards under the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Taxi Transformation Plan.
According to SPAD's chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, the proposed move to merge the cab companies would only increase the competitiveness of the public transport industry.
“If you remember the financial crisis in the late 90’s when the country was hit by economic downturn, several banks were merged to strengthen the financial institutions. This is the same formula for the taxi industry,” he said at a press conference after hosting meet-the-taxi-driver luncheon session for 500 cabbies at SPAD headquarters in KL Sentral today.
He also added that SPAD would standardize allocation and distribution of individual taxi permits as well as leasing as part of an effort to restructure the industry in the upcoming National Land Public Transport Masterplan.
“There are 45 per cent individual taxi permits out of the 37,000 taxi permits at present in Klang Valley. SPAD is scrutinising the whole range of individual taxi permits to ensure that the standard of service of the taxi drivers will continue to improve,” said Syed Hamid.
Cars, Bikes & Trucks learned that more details of the merger and restructuring of the taxi services would emerge when the government will host another round of meet-the-cabbies session soon.
Syed Hamid also added that since 2011, no new taxi permit was issued by the commission in view of the high number of taxi drivers in the country.
The taxi-to-passenger ratio for Klang Valley cabs is considered as among the highest in the world with 4.8 taxis against 1,000 populations.
This is in contrast New York City's 13,237 yellow cabs in 2011, a ratio of 1.6 against 1,000 people followed by Hanoi at 2.2 per 1,000 persons, Jakarta at 2.65 per 1,000 populations and London at 2.8 per 1,000 people.
"The commission discovers that sizeable numbers of taxi permits are inactive or dormant. Most of these cases involve individuals, associations and organizations that received the Special Approval Letter (STK) in the past but failed to operate over a period of time," he said.
In addition, he said, SPAD is currently negotiating with cab operators to standardize the existing hire purchase practice because “there’s a wide range of rental rate, between RM45 to RM15 per day.”
Syed Hamid also said the commission won’t seize the taxi permit without a valid reason and “will only retrieve the dormant permit.”
"If the permit holders do not have the financial capability to purchase a new taxi including insurance, maintenance and so forth, SPAD will try to assist them to obtain loans from financial institutions," said the commission supremo.