Taxi scam

Kuala_Lumpur-taxi-scam-tourist-scamsKuala Lumpur taxis are very cheap, especially compared to European or American standards. A one-way trip within the city center should not cost you more than 10 Ringgit. If you’re a tourist, almost every taxi driver will attempt to convince you that he doesn’t need to use the meter. Some will simply lie that it will be cheaper without (surprise: it’s not), others will claim it’s a holiday, and the meter doesn’t work during holidays, or that the meter is only used for longer distances, not for short trips, and others may just claim their meter is broken. Ask the driver to turn on the meter anyways and if he refuses, you have two options: either you get out of the taxi and grab another one, or you (threaten to) call the telephone number that’s displayed on the dashboard. Taxi-scam-Kuala_Lumpur-tourist-scamsThis is the SPAD, or in English the Public Land Transport Commission which oversees the taxis. If you report the driver for not using his meter, he will face hefty penalties, so most drivers won’t even let you dial the number and will switch on their meter quickly. Keep in mind that not using the meter will cost you up to four times the metered price, even though the agreed price seems very low to your own standards.

Taxi coupon counters

Kuala_Lumpur-taxi_coupon-scam-tourist-scamsAt some tourist hotspots, like the KLCC tower, you will find a coupon counter for taxi tickets, which usually cost about 20 Ringgit. They will tell you that the taxi drivers waiting in line at that location will accept only this coupon for your return ride. Of course, the rate they are charging is way overpriced, as they are simply catching the commission for selling you the ticket. To avoid overpaying for your taxi ride, simply walk down to the nearest street curb and hail the first available taxi that passes. There are plenty of taxis in the city and you won’t have to wait long. But it will save you some unnecessary commissions.

We have actually heard stories from travelers unaware of this coupon system, who simply jumped into a taxi that had just delivered another couple that was going to visit the tower. The taxi driver accepted the ride without any coupon, because this would allow him to skip the line of waiting drivers and save him the commission. Unfortunately, the people from the counter noticed the tourist getting into the taxi and they got into an argument with each other, which ended up with physical violence to the driver while the tourist was still in the car, unaware of what was going on.

 

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