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Airport cabbies hard hit by touts

13 May, 2008

TAXI touts are now going about luring passengers discreetly at both the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and the KLIA main terminal in Sepang.

Unlike the KLIA main terminal where the queue for taxis is long and many passengers find it frustrating to wait in line, taxis are not a problem at the LCCT – the problem lies with taxi touts.

Although many people do not object to touts operating at the main terminal due to the shortage of taxis, the legitimate budget and premier taxi drivers at the LCCT are not too happy with their presence there.

The cabbies have protested to the authorities about the tout menace many times in the past but no action has been taken so far.

Several taxi drivers told StarMetro that the touts worked for teksi sapu, including 10-seater vans.

Airport cabbies hard hit by touts
Negotiable rates, any destination: Passengers getting into a van at the LCCT.

They said the touts immediately approached and surrounded the passengers as soon as they stepped out of the arrival hall.

"Every transport operator, whether they are legal or illegal, has some connections and there is little the authorities can do to curb the menace," a driver said.

One driver, who had parked his van away from the taxi waiting point, said he was waiting to pick up passengers to the Kuala Lumpur city centre and Genting Highlands.

According to the driver, they usually pick up families or groups of more than eight and this is the advantage they have over taxis.

"Some passengers prefer to take vans. The rates are negotiable and we can take them to any destination," the van driver said.

But the legal taxi drivers are questioning whether these vans should be allowed to operate when there are already enough buses and taxis servicing the passengers.

"We do not know if the vans are legal. The passengers buy their tickets at the counters. If they are tour vans waiting for tour groups to arrive, then that is acceptable. What we are puzzled is that they produce tickets before boarding the vans," said another driver, who requested anonymity.

The driver said passengers were also partly to blame for encouraging tout activities as they were attracted by the much lower fares to their destinations compared with budget and premier taxis.

Airport cabbies hard hit by touts
Unfair advantage?: Vans parked alongside the skybus next to the taxi waiting point at the LCCT to pick up passengers.

"How can the authorities allow vans not registered with the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board to operate at the terminal when registered taxi drivers like us have to wait for hours before we can get a first trip?" the driver said.

According to a premier taxi driver, some van operators even have their own ticketing counter at the arrival hall but this claim could not be verified.

The skybus company operating between the LCCT and KL Sentral has its own skyvans to pick up passengers and this has caused a further dent in the taxi drivers' livelihood.

And at the end of the day, for the illegal operators and the touts, it is ringgit and sen that matters.

This article is a verbatim copy of the original article from The Star.

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