Trying out radio taxi servicePOSTED BY CBT Team ON 21 September 2014
I drove metered taxis in Kuala Lumpur from 2000-2010 and often wondered why many people chose to wait indefinitely by the roadside for taxis when they could easily call for one.
Before the advent of taxi apps such as MyTeksi and UniCabLink, there were more than fifteen radio taxi companies operating in the Klang Valley.
Passengers who are not social media savvy or subscribe to data plan for their smartphones are likely to continue dialling for a cab instead of using a taxi app.
Last Thursday morning, I decided to give radio taxi service a try and called one of the largest operators at 7.20pm while waiting by the roadside.
I was surprised the operator asked for my phone number but not my name.
I had expected the radio taxi company would know the phone number from caller identification, and taking down customer’s name would ensure the right passengers are picked up.
At 7.22am, I received a message stating: “Hi MR, TQ for ur booking (ID:5349205). For booking status: http://bsmart-platform.com.my/t/h.cfm?-5349205.”
I did not bother to go online and track as I was busy taking note of the taxis passing by; some with passengers while others without.
At 7.34am, I received another message: “Hi MR, we are sorry, Job(5349205), no ready taxi available now. Ps try again! ** To book a cab, download app @ (radio taxi website).”
The same message was received again at 7.44am but I had already stopped a passing taxi at 7.35am and heading towards my destination.
The taxi was rickety as it was just a month over ten years and the driver cum owner was grateful that the permit was extended for a year to August 2015.
He is still hopeful that he can use a car cheaper than the Proton Exora which is the only model allowed for all new metered taxis.
He has been a full time cabbie for over twenty years and is sceptical that cabbies operating Exora taxis can sustain with the current budget taxi meter fares.
As for radio taxis, there will be a quantum leap in service when the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) roll out the Centralised Taxi Service System (CTSS).
Instead of frantically calling one radio taxi company after another, passengers need to call only one number and will have access to all participating radio taxi companies.
As such, the chances of getting a radio taxi will be raised considerably. However, those using taxi apps will continue as they can track the whereabouts of available taxis.
Likewise, the CTSS would also be able to track and record the movements of participating taxis, and also valuable data captured by the taximeters.
If all metered taxis are mandated to participate in the CTSS, SPAD would be able to monitor and exert control over them.
Among other things, the CTSS would allow passengers to complain to SPAD while still in the taxi and give a star rating for the service at the end of the trip.
When implemented, it will mark the era that technology has finally overtaken the wayward ways of errant cabbies.