KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 ― A taxi driver here drove two French tourists to Putrajaya and back, charging them RM800 for the ride when they simply wanted to hop from the KLCC to the National Mosque, the women have claimed.
One of the victims, identified only as Sarah and in her 30s, said they hailed the driver at the shopping mall and asked him to take them to the mosque, one of the city’s main tourist spots.
She then claimed that the driver, who refused to switch on his fare meter, then took them on the detour.
After the incident around 6pm on Saturday, the two French nationals lodged a report with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), providing the taxi's registration number and a photo of the taxi driver.
“The victim claimed the taxi driver involved instead took them to Putrajaya first before going to the National Mosque.
“Upon arriving at the National Mosque, the taxi driver forced the victims to pay RM800,” a SPAD spokesman was quoted saying by local daily Harian Metro, adding that the tourists paid the sum out of fear.
Citing the information received, the SPAD spokesman said the taxi driver had taken advantage of the tourists by using a further route when the distance between KLCC and Masjid Negara was only six kilometres.
“Spad is now tracking down the taxi driver involved for further action. Such actions affects the country's image in the eyes of foreign tourists,” the spokesman added.
The Harian Metro report did not specify the type of taxis used by the two French women.
According to the taxi rate and fare schedule on SPAD's website, the fees charged would differ based on the type of taxis used ― budget, Teksi1Malaysia (Teks1m) and executive ― and its estimates can be calculated either based on the time or distance travelled.
For a budget taxi that comes with a RM3 flag fall inclusive of the first kilometre and RM0.25 for each subsequent 200 metres travelled, the estimated cost for a six-kilometre journey would be RM9.25.
As for Teks1m with a RM4 flag fall and RM0.30 charge for each subsequent 200 metres, the same journey would cost an estimated RM11.50.
The executive taxis with a RM6 flag fall and RM0.20 charge for each subsequent 100 metre travelled would mean that a six kilometre trip costs an estimated RM16.
Even accounting for the alleged detour to Putrajaya which could mean an estimated distance of between 69km to 78km to get to Masjid Negara, a budget taxi's estimated fares would come up to between RM88 and RM99.25, inclusive of flag fall.
The estimated cost using Teks1m would come up to between RM106 and RM119.50, while for the estimated fares using executive taxis would be between RM142 and RM160.
The alleged incident comes even as taxi services face stiff competition from ride-sharing services Uber and Grab that both calculate fares upfront.