Apr 12 2011

How to avoid taxi rip-offs in KL

Published by at 11:38 am under Transport

As recently as two years ago, the most frequent complaint by visitors to KL was about the city’s taxi drivers. The biggest single problem was the refusal of drivers to use their meter, insisting instead on outrageous fixed fares. In the end, the situation became so bad the government had to act. It adopted a largely effective carrot-and-stick approach, boosting meter fares on the one hand and strictly enforcing rules on the other. The most visible sign of all this is a list of guidelines, for both passengers and drivers, which must be displayed in all cabs.

Laying down the law to KL cabbies

Although things have improved greatly, some rogue cabbies out there still roam the streets. Here are some tips to avoid being ripped off:

Avoid taxi ranks.
This might seem like odd advice, but as a rule of thumb, taxi ranks are where the lazy, dishonest drivers hang out.

Never go with a taxi driver who approaches you.
Hard-working, honest drivers do not need to tout for business.

Treat touts with the contempt they deserve.
By their very nature, they are liars and cheats.

It’s wise not to try to get a cab right outside a major tourist attraction.
Take a short walk, to the nearest main road if possible, and try their instead.

Coupon kiosks, where they exist, are a generally safe bet.
You end up paying more than the metered fare, but buying a coupon can save a lot of hassle.

Never a taxi when you want one

Older drivers are much less likely to rip you off.
And they usually know where they are going too.

Do not enter into negotiations.
Tell the driver where you want to go and if he starts talking figures, close the door, and hail another cab.

If the driver sets off without putting the meter on, remind him politely, but firmly, to do so.
If he refuses, tell him to stop, and get out.

Do not get into a cab where the meter has been covered up.
The same goes, if the driver’s ID is not clearly displayed.

If an attempt is made to cheat you, note down the number plate, and make a complaint to the CVLB.
One of the obstacles to ridding KL of rogue cabbies is the lack of reporting of incidents, particularly by tourists.

T: 1800-889-600
Text message: Send “LKDP Aduan” or “SPAD Aduan”, followed by your complaint, to 15888
Email: aduan@lpkp.gov.my or aduan@spad.gov.my

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7 Responses to “How to avoid taxi rip-offs in KL” ...

  1. Tourist never coming back!on 29 Apr 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Coupon kiosks are not safe. I had a thief taxi driver who took my coupon and then just left me in the middle of nowhere. So what can I do? I already paid the fare so he doesn’t care if I live or die at that point! I will relay this information to all the emails mentioned in this article, but I will also repeat my warning to every person I meet and every website about travel. I will tell everyone that KL is a city of thieves and they should never go there. This may end up costing Malaysia thousands and thousands of dollars over the years, and you can all thank one crook taxi driver for it! Please go and thank him for representing your country as a bunch of criminals.

  2. Paton 29 Apr 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Sorry to hear about your experience. As I said in the article, there are still some cheats out there. But things have got an awful lot better in the last few years. I am really surprised this happened to you at KL Sentral. I must have used the various coupon counters inside the station dozens of times, and I have never once been cheated. I have never used the one near where buses drop off, which has always seemed a bit dodgy-looking to me As you say, experiences like this put tourists off visiting a country. I just hope you do come back to Malaysia some day and see that the vast majority of KL-ites – even taxi drivers – are pleasant, honest people, and do not deserve too be tarred with the same brush as the occasional scumbag. After all, I’m sure there are people who cheat tourists in Toronto too… there certainly are in my home city (London)!

  3. […] that's too frightening though, here's how to hire a car, or catch a taxi.) Tags: motorcycles, pedestrians, […]

  4. Malaysian teenageron 31 Oct 2012 at 8:06 am

    Yup. Dont take a cab. If you have an International License, go and rent a motorcycle. The bike that is cost saving is EX-5. Its cost saving too. Put it this way. Travel 80 kilometres in a cab and you will be charged around rm200. Rent a bike for 1 week, and it’ll cost you rm20 per day. Fuel will cost you RM5 for a full tank. There are several petrols to choose from. Always choose the old petrol. Its cheaper.

    How to find a place that rents motorcycles?
    Juz google it up.

    You will get stuck in the rain and all, but its more fun. You can travel at your own pace too..

  5. Gloria Mon 01 Feb 2013 at 10:01 am

    Things have not changed much!

    I just had a horrible experience with a taxi driver. He was driving me away from my destination, he was going into roads I had not seen before. When I asked where he was taking me and where the meter was he said he told me to pay RM20. That was not true, I always say meter, I have lived here for a while. Then he wanted to drop me off in the middle of nowhere, but I refused to get out and started texting his details to my friends. He was angry and he drove me very fast to a train station and told me to get out.

    Taxi drivers make KL a difficult and sometimes unpleasant city to live and work. This does not just happen to tourists and expats, it also happens to locals. And it is fairly constant. Almost every day I have incidents with taxi drivers who simply refuse to take you, treat you badly, try to rip you off, don’t even know where addresses are and you have to tell them how to get there… And with the poor public transport system one simply has no choice but to take taxis (or buy a car and add to the huge level of carbon emissions!).

    The Government needs to take this issue seriously and do something about changing this. Every so often there is a damning article in the paper but that is it. I will add to the thousands of public complaints that the government and taxi drivers just ignore, but the message is clear: don’t come to KL, taxi drivers will scare you, rip you off and nobody will care.

    And as per renting a bike, I guess it depends on how much you love your life really! This is not Thailand.

  6. Sofocleson 22 Feb 2013 at 9:50 am

    as a business traveller i go to KL 3 to 5 times a year over the past 5 years never in my life have i seen such scams as these taxi drivers the worse spots are china town and 4 and 5 star hotels taxi ranks
    one guy had the nerve to as $50 us dollars for the 2 klm trip but no matter where u are these scumbags are everwhere i have sent endless complaints to the embassy to the media to the taxi companies guess what not one reply back Kl will suffer in the end and these rogues will starve
    it seem the locals are sort of ok or the woman taxi drivers but stay away from anyone Indian your guranteed to be ripped off its funny how its always the Ind ians who will rip u off no matter where u are watch out for the turbon mafia who controll the cabs when in a big line this guy will prevent u taking any taxi unless he says so and pumps the price up 5 to 10 times what it should be SHAME ON U KL u have lost losts of business and money over your govt controll mafia who runs the taxis i have been over 28 times now and guess what me and my business friends have stopped dealing in kl 100% just over the issues of getting around see ya kl may u rot where u live R.I.P KL your taxis have burried u

  7. Audrey Chuon 05 Jul 2013 at 8:51 am

    Hi just want to share with everyone a very cool app—Easy Taxi. You can book secure and metered taxis by a simple click on your phone. You can also track taxi drivers real-time on a map. Download Easy Taxi now and try it out!

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