Using Taxi in KL

Caution when using a taxi in KL

In Kuala Lumpur, there are good honest drivers putting in a hard day’s work in rainy or sunny weather who charge according to properly calibrated meters, but there are some errant taxi drivers. These are quick to the ‘trigger’ upon seeing a tourist (and sometimes even Kuala Lumpur locals) and refuse to use the meter, quoting a fare often with the view of ripping you off.

This “quoted” fare is generally much more than the metered price and sometimes when haggling takes place, it is reciprocated with rude gestures or abusive language, or when A negotiated price is agreed upon, they respond with reckless driving, becoming a danger on the road to other road users. Sometimes, even before you get out they drive off, shouting at you or giving vulgar signs.

Whether you take a metered taxi from street or from any counter, taxis in Kuala Lumpur, like all cities you need to be cautious. Kuala Lumpur offers one of the most effective public transport system in the world that includes LRT, MRT, Monorail, bus (including free buses). They are very safe, effective, reasonably fast and convenient.

To protect yourself:

  • Estimate distances (and fares) with a street map showing traffic flow direction and a scale measure. Compute based on the metered fare system and give an allowance of 5-10%.
  • Consult your hotel concierge on an approximate distance and the likely metered fare, use it as a guide, he(she) may be wrong or even working in concert with these errant taxi drivers. You shall have to be the best judge on this.
  • Use the Light Rail Transit (LRT), the commuter train and the monorail to get in, out and around KL. KL Sentral is the central point for all three systems. From KL Sentral itself, you may take a taxi which uses the coupon system which takes away all the hassle of errant taxi drivers.
  • Use secure taxi booking apps, like Grab. Drivers are certified safe and all will use taxi-meters. The app will also allow you to contact the assigned driver directly and track his whereabouts on a real time map (however, like all apps, this app will require data access or wifi, which is expensive for overseas phones).

Report Problematic Taxi Driver

If, despite these measures you find an errant driver, charging exorbitant fares, or reckless driving, being rude or any behaviour that is viewed unwelcoming; please do not react and let it spoil your holiday.

Make a note of this taxi registration number discreetly, as most Kuala Lumpur taxi registration numbers start with HW or HB. Note the time of incident, where you board the taxi and alighted (a building landmark or nearest street name). You can call or SMS the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) to have this taxi driver summoned or even his taxi permit revoked.

Tel : 1 800 88 9600
SMS : 39900

Example :

To SMS for being overcharged RM 20 for a short distance, which on meter should only be RM 3, type:

LPKP[space]overcharging[space]your complaint (eg taxi number, time of incidence, location of incidence and other relevant information), then send to 39900.

CVLB in Malay is Lembaga Pelesenan Kenderaan Perdagangan (LPKP). On the rear of the taxi (on lower side of boot lid), there must be a white sticker with the wordings: Aduan LPKP, followed by the above Tel and SMS . Aduan LPKP means LPKP complaint line.

Whilst the above complaint phone number are correct, it is next to impossible to lodge a complaint. However, if you’re lucky enough to do so, please do not expect the driver to be reprimanded or his license revoked.

If you plan to do a city tour and going to places of attraction in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur and wishes to charter a taxi, the rate is normally RM 15-20 per hour (RM 10/ hour for waiting time at the place of attraction).

Alternatively, do make a posting in TA KL Forum, advising Forum User of your place of accommodation and your proposed destination(s), and local experts and other TA travellers will be pleased to assist you.

Some taxi drivers give a quote in dollars, eg 10 dollars. If you seek clarification by saying 10 ringgits, they will say that’s right. So, it seems to me that some American tourists are handing over USD10 for an RM 10 ride which is actually only about USD2. Always confirm whether your quote is in ringgits. Such a misunderstanding could happen as it is still common for Malaysians to mention prices by saying 10 dollars instead of 10 ringgit. The only difference would be if a Malaysian says ‘ten dollars’, everyone knows the currency is Malaysian ringgit. But if a Caucasian were to say the same thing, then it is all up to interpretation. – via TripAdvisor

GRAB is smartphone apps to hire a car to anywhere. Download GRAB on App Store and Play Store.