Sunday, October 28, 2018

Root cause of rotten taxi services - Mahathirism - Mahathir and taxi drivers (extracts):

It is understandable that these taxi drivers would get frustrated now that Mahathir has been elected their MP and even PM but has failed to meet their expectations.

You may argue that the taxi drivers only have themselves to blame for the poor service quality.

I do agree that our taxi service is of a quality way below that of Singapore, Taiwan or even Thailand. The issue is not their service quality per se but their relatively better systems.

The utterly rotten taxi service in Malaysia can be attributed to our rotten system, and this rotten system is closely related to Mahathir himself.

When Mahathir was the prime minister in the 90s, the country's taxi operation was monopolized by a small group of privileged companies, and only those with special connection can get a taxi permit.

Those who want to drive a taxi would have to apply with these taxi companies which would leased their vehicles to the drivers.

A big chunk of these drivers day-to-day earnings went to the taxi companies, leaving them with not much after paying for fuel and maintenance.

And these so-called "taxi companies" never performed their obligations of training the drivers and improving their service attitude, nor providing them an efficient vehicle hailing system.

Because of such a repressive system, many drivers could hardly make ends meet. In the end, they had no choice but to tax their passengers.

When every finger is pointed at taxi drivers, does anyone ever think who created all this mess, or who issued the taxi permits and allowed the establishment of "taxi companies"?

Were the taxi drivers going too far by asking Mahathir's help?

In this whole thing, taxi drivers are the oppressed lot, and consumers the eventual victims.告


  1. It is fashionable in some Malaysian circles to blame PM 4 Mahathir for Everything that is wrong in the country today.

    The standing joke is somebody's dog or cat died, and it is PM 4 Mahathir's fault.

    The concept of taxi companies itself is not wrong.
    In Singapore, all taxis belong to one taxi company or another, the largest majority being NTUC Comfort, which is owned by the NTUC, PAP-linked.
    The Singapore government will NOT issue taxi licences to freelance individuals.

    This is a similar case in many major cities around the world, because for city governments to regulate individual taxi owner/operators is too complex, instead the they regulate a limited number of taxi companies, and let those companies hold their individual drivers accountable.

    What went wrong in Malaysia is the government failed to control those taxi companies to be real operating companies, instead they became passive, parasitic rentiers.

    In the bad old days, even bus and minibus companies adopted this rentier model. The bus company holders held the licence, but operated the service in name only. They farmed out the individual buses to individual drivers as contractors , these contractors went rogue, driving recklessly, overloading buses, even fighting with other drivers for business.

    1. It's true that the rotten group of privileged taxi companies existed during Mahathir's first 22 years as PM but what is being done about that now?

      Otherwise, I agree with you that in Singapore there are a handful of large taxi companies, in many of which Singapore GLCs and large corporations, as well as the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) have a stake.

      I had an opportunity to visit the City Cab operations centre in 1999 or 2000 to see their booking and routing operations centre which routed taxis via GPS and it was a professionally run corporation in itself, with maintenance facilities and so forth which was world class.

      When I returned to KLIA, I found that Malaysia's airport taxis with their iconic GPS dome on top were not allowed to use their GPS because the signals interfered with aeronautical communications. So much for "Malaysia Boleh".

      I am all for large state-owned or strictly regulated, professionally run taxi corporations which either rent their taxis to properly screened and trained drivers at fair rents, or which pay their drivers a fair salary plus fair commissions for passenger revenue earned.

      As long as taxi companies in Malaysia exist and operate in the ole, exploitative, sub-standard way, that alternative services such a Uber (now acquired by Grab) and Grab taxis itself gain popularity over traditional taxi services.

      Uber is American, whilst Grab which began as a Malaysian company has now migrated to Singapore and has become a Singaporean taxi operation.

    2. ref your "their GPS because the signals interfered with aeronautical communications"

      so very untrue. Taxis have ONLY GPS receivers, not transmitters. The receivers as in all GPS devices receive signals from (approximately 24) GPS satellites orbiting Earth. The receivers take signals from three satellites to form a triangulation to fix their respective positions. It's all reception and no transmission, so how could those GPS interfere with aeronautical comms. Whether in use of not those US satellites keep transmitting.

      Russia and China also have their own satellite nav systems. The Russian one is called GLONASS.

    3. This is not about your passive GPS receiver, which many cars and almost all mobile phones now have.

      A true GPS-managed fleet control system uses both passive GPS receivers AND automated transmitting, receiving system which provides to-the-second update to HQ servers where each vehicle is, and despatch each vehicle to its destination.
      Next time you are in a Singapore taxi, watch how the driver operates, how he receives and responds to Dispatch bookings.

      The story about the the Malaysian taxi transmitters interfering with aircraft and airport communications was Crap invented as an excuse for some other reason for not using the is easy enough to arrange for frequencies which do not interfere with aircraft communications.

      Uber's success at the technical end came from incorporating both the User and Driver operations into Mobile phone functions, which many other companies have now mastered.

    4. The Chinese one is called 北斗.

      Both Russian & Chinese systems evolved out of the facts

      1) that the Yanks deployed its GPS satellite navigation system to provide accuracy within three meters for precision guidance systems for munitions, aircraft and ground forces during the Iraq war.

      2) Moreover, the Chinese learnt a hard lesson during The Yinhe incident (Chinese: 银河号事件) in 1993. The United States government shut down the GPS navigation used by the China-based regular container ship Yinhe (银河; "Milky Way"). The US falsely claimed that Time was carrying chemical weapon materials to Iran. W/O the GPS guidance, the US Navy forced the Yinhe to stop in the international waters of the Indian Ocean for a month.

      Hence, the EU, the Russian & the Chinese decides to deployed their own satellite navigation systems to protect their national, or commercial & military, intetests.

  2. Well, that is what I was told by the taxi driver as to why they did not use their GPS navigation system, though you are right that most GPS devices are receivers only, though I do not know whether those taxis had some kind of radio frequency transmitters too,as Monsterball mentioned, which interfered with aeronautical communications.

    Such as GPS taxi fleet management system would require that the taxis transmitted their GPS coordinates back to the control centre and back then, we did not have 3G mobile data services, just 2G, so the taxis may have been a special frequency to transmit their GPS coordinates back to the control centre.

    Of course, it could also have been just a crap excuse to explain away the fact that the GPS systems used by those airport taxis was not operational and today, those domes on taxis have disappeared.

    The bottom line though is that Singapore taxis were using a GPS navigation system so that he operations centre knew where they were, so the nearest available ones could be despatched to pick up passengers, whilst the KLIA's airport taxis' GPS system was not operational.

  3. "Hence, the EU, the Russian & the Chinese decides to deployed their own satellite navigation systems to protect their national, or commercial & military, interests."

    They did the right thing to develop their own satellite navigation systems, rather than rely on a U.S. system.

  4. Currently the ONLY satellite nav system that CAN do both transmission & reception is the 北斗. Even then, the reception by the sat is limited to very short SMS.

    The S'pore taxi system uses a combination of GPS transmitted triangulation data with terrestrial radio wave interconnectivity that doesn't involved the GPS sat. The taxi tracking ONLY involves the received triangulated GPS data sent by the terrestrial tracking device to calculate it's current location. Same like how the GPS mapping app works.