Whine Wednesdays: Hot Meters In Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur must have one of the scammiest taxi industries in Asia. Thailand was able to get (most) of their taxis in order in Bangkok (let’s not talk about the holiday islands), and there is never a problem with the meter in Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong… they are like walk in the park.

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I just spent couple of weeks in Kuala Lumpur and the taxis never makes visits to the city too pleasant. Part of the problem are the “Premium Taxis” that are always stationed at the hotel and that pay the respective hotel a fee for the privilege of picking up their guests. The taxi fare of these “Premium” taxis is about the double compared to “Budget” taxis.

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The other taxis in KL are referred to as a “budget taxi”. I am not sure where this name of a Budget taxi originates as these would be called just taxis in most other cities. Yes, some of their cars are bit on the old side, but some are new as well.

Here are some problems encountered::

– Lady taxi driver had covered the meter with a baseball cap because it was too ”hot”. Literally. That’s what she said. Whenever you see a cap over a meter there is nothing good coming out of it at the end. Her fare was only 25% to 30% higher than it should have.

– Another driver had a truly hot meter. We had moved about 2 kilometers according to Google Maps but the meter was already at the 10 kilometer mark. The taxi driver feigned English (unlikely in KL) and couldn’t understand why there would be a problem with his meter.

– A taxi driver wanted 40 MYR fare, which I refused and when I turned him down he agreed to the meter. I knew that the fare would be less than 30 MYR. The actual meter was 24 MYR. Gave him 30, but it wasn’t a pleasant ride.

Conclusion

I have told the hotels many times in Kuala Lumpur that they should push the government to get the taxis in order. It is never a pleasant experience having to haggle and borderline “fight” with the taxis for them to turn the meter on (hopefully not a HOT one) even when they have huge decals outside that they MUST use a meter.

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