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29 Oct 2022

SEPANG: A controversial RM2 entrance fee for taxi and e-hailing drivers going to pick up passengers from klia2 has been temporarily postponed until further notice after fierce criticism from the public.

The RM2 fee was enforced on Friday by the appointed concessionaire, RA Consultant Group, but it was stopped the very next day pending further discussions between the company, the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) and e-hailing entities and associations.

Grab Drivers Malaysia Association deputy president Mohd Azril Ahmat said he hoped an amicable solution can be reached soon and that such moves will not be done without proper discussion and notice.

“For now it’s been deferred but who knows for how long, and what will the outcome be once it has been discussed by all the parties involved.

“It was a bad move to begin with because as it is, level one is very congested and it’s even worse during peak times such as on weekends and public holidays. For the two days it was implemented, it was utter chaos.

“As it is, the pick-up area is not well lit, the road surface is bad and the air is polluted with fumes. So, who wouldn’t get upset when a RM2 charge is imposed just to go get the customer?

“There are more than 2,000 e-hailing vehicles (at klia2) daily so it is very profitable for the concessionaire. One of the excuses (given) was for the move to prevent touts from taking on passengers, but there was nothing about repairing or upgrading the pick-up area.

“E-hailing drivers have to cover quite a distance to send passengers to, or pick up from, the airport for a fee of between RM65 and RM105, which is not much when you factor in the cost and distance involved,” he said.

Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) president and lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan concurred with Azril that the move to charge was not thought through properly especially during such tough and trying times.

“The relevant authorities must play their role in ensuring that such decisions are not made without prior consultation and discussion. (Apad) must be strict on such issues, and the same goes for MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd).

“When it comes to making such decisions involving charges billed to the rakyat, they must take into account the people’s needs and if there are any ramifications,” he said.

Segi Astana Sdn Bhd (SASB), the company that manages the Gateway Mall at KLIA2, noted that the concessionaire did not obtain prior approval for such a move.

“Following RACG’s move, SASB immediately initiated and chaired a meeting with RACG and representatives from the Transport Ministry, Persatuan Gabungan E-Hailing Malaysia, PPIM and MAHB.

“As a result, RACG agreed to immediately deactivate the charging system until further discussion with the relevant stakeholders,” it said.

Frequent travelers and flyers who depend on e-hailing services to get to and from klia2 on a regular basis were also unimpressed by such the move.

Jamie Mohan, 40, a senior manager at a private company, when met at the airport, was one who did not mince his words.

“I think this is just a greedy, crony company wanting to make some money from the rakyat. Are there any valid reasons given at all to charge money to taxis and e-hailing drivers to come into klia2 to pick us up?

“They are not parking and waiting for us… we get the app, book our ride and the assigned driver comes from nearby areas to get us. It’s as simple as that.

“Perhaps if I may suggest, a grace period could be granted, of up to 15 minutes. But still, what is the purpose of charging which is akin to a ‘toll fee’ which just makes no sense. To my knowledge, no other country has something silly like this,” he said.

Another frequent traveller, an investment banker who wished to be known only as Foong, shared Jamie’s sentiments.

“Instead of looking at other means or ways of positively enhancing their revenue stream, it seems the concessionaire could not care less but to penalise the consumers or rather the e-hailing drivers.

“In my humble opinion, an airport is already a monopoly or oligopoly, and consumers do not have a choice to decline such charges. I hope the concessionaire will not have the cheek to retort that travellers can always take the train, buses (since bus operators are absorbing the costs), or get picked up in private cars instead.

Foong, too, mentioned that during such times of economic hardship, such moves should be checked by the government and relevant authorities.

Article by: New Straits Times