I’ve been staying in the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur – near KLCC. To get around the central area I have been using taxis. This has led to a lot of annoyance and stress. I have adjusted my mindset to accept that I will be ripped off by every taxi driver, but I find it offensive when they try to gouge me in extreme ways.
For example… I feel that 10 ringgit is already a high price to get around the central area. If the taxis were to use the meter, it would probably only cost 5 RM – 8 RM to get anywhere downtown. Typically the drivers will refuse to use the meter and instead throw out the price of 20 RM. After a bit of negotiation (and not wanting to deal with too much time loss / hassle), I end up settling for 10 RM.
Last night, while trying to make my way back from a wedding, a taxi driver quoted 25 RM as the price to get me from Pavilion to Pacific Regency. Their reason? “Traffic”.” At 1 in the morning?!? Wrong. So moved on to a different driver… who gave me the price of 40 RM. WHAT!! That was just offensive and over-the-top.
I ended up finding a taxi for 15 RM.
Anyway, I chatted with a taxi driver who provided some interesting info (whether it is true or not I have no idea):
- The flagdown fee is 2 RM – this has not changed in 20 years
- When going to the budget airport terminal or KLIA, a fair price should be 60 RM – 70 RM
- Taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers from the airport and take them to the city so they have to come back to the city empty
- The government mandates that taxis should use the meter. But no government officials use taxis so this is not enforced.
In conclusion, every time I get in a taxi in Kuala Lumpur, I feel like I am voluntarily #!$@-ing myself in the ass.
(Written on the HP Mini 1000 at Kuala Lumpur’s Budget Terminal – which honestly may be the worst designed airport terminal I have ever been to. Perhaps a blog entry about that…)