Sunday, June 7, 2009

Association chairman welcomes new fare rates

BINTULU: The hardships of cabbies need to be taken into consideration despite negative feedback from the public on the proposed nationwide hike in taxi fare by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB).

Bintulu Taxi Owner’s Association chairman Simon Alan (pictured left) said this when contacted yesterday.

Saying that he agreed 100 per cent with the proposal, Simon revealed that all cabbies here welcome the new rates, which he saw as timely and which they had been waiting for.

Most people believe that hiking fares would burden those dependent on taxis for transport.

Simon’s argument is that the rising cost of living meant adjustment had to be made for taxi drivers.

“It’s not only me but all taxi drivers suffer from the current economic downturn, and need this change to keep up with the standard of living.

“The new fare rates could hopefully lighten our burden from the rapid increase of prices of items and spare parts of vehicles,” Simon said.

Asked if the new fare would affect the usage of taxis here, he admitted that it would have some impact on regular commuters.

“But I think it is for a short time only. It maybe fine in the long term when commuters have accepted the increase,” he added.

According to Simon, most of their commuters in Bintulu are from outside the town and working with Shell and offshore companies.

“We rely mostly on outside people who work here but locals have their own transport so don’t really need our service,” he elaborated.

Since taking a taxi is expected to cost more, Simon was asked its impact on tourism.

He replied that nothing would change their competitiveness as even tourists seldom use taxis now.

The peninsula had proposed a 30 per cent hike in fares which he deemed reasonable and could be implemented here.

Asked if there is any intention to raise fares by more than 60 to 100 per cent, Simon replied that other than causing a lot of difficulty to passengers, such a figure was unlikely to be approved.

“Thirty per cent should be fine but 100 per cent is crazy as passengers would be reluctant to use our service then,” he said.

Simon looked forward to a better taxi rate from CVLB, whose proposal he saw as fair to taxis and commuters alike.

He said he had expected a new rate this year after CVLB asked for the list of fare rates from the association recently.

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