We had a dinner with the old man yesterday somewhere in Bangsar. We talked a lot about the most controversial piece of news yesterday.

Public Transport Fares To Rise 20 To 67 Per Cent — SPAD
KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Bernama) — Taxi and hire car fares will increase by between 20 and 67 per cent effective immediately and express bus fares will go up 22.6 per cent on May 15, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) announced Thursday. SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the rise in the fares was inevitable due to the higher costs, including for maintenance, borne by public transportation operators. He said the fares were streamlined after considering the needs of the operators who were burdened with the rising prices of goods and the interests of the public using public transportation.

Very straight forward news.

A few SPAD top officers agreed it was a tough day. But they said, there will never be a right moment to announce the price hike. They just have to go with it to ensure the ‘sustainability’ of the industry.

When we asked why did KTMB do the announcement on the same day, they replied with a big “sigh”. (MP Langkawi please lah take note)

Anyway I would rather not go into the technical parts, but the old man explained to us that the decision was made after a number of sessions held with everyone involved.

The governments, industry players, the organisations, the authorities, and last but not least the consumers.

After the news took places in mainstream media, alternative media, social media, people, well, majority of them were frustrated, claimed that government has nothing else to do but keep on pressuring the ‘rakyat’ while the cost of living is increasing, and quickly became unbearable (to some).

But I think we the ‘rakyat’ are forgetting the power we have. The power of consumer. When we pay more, should not we be expecting more in terms of quality?

As far as I am concern, I am quite satisfied with the quality of our public transportation, mostly under the management of RapidKL.

Rapid buses, commuter, monorail, but not taxis.

So what about the quality of these taxis. Aren’t we all deserve to enjoy the quality of services based on the price we are paying?

A very senior editor pointed out yesterday about the behaviors of these taxis drivers.

“Saya baru-baru ni naik teksi dari JB nak pi Singapore, sepanjang jalan dia dok kondem SPAD pasai apa tak naik-naik lagi tambang teksi”

Years ago, when I did not have car, I depended much on public transportation to go to work. To go to the assignments etc. Sometimes taxi was the quickest way to reach my destination.

But most of these taxi drives, when they talked, they would expressed that kind of dissatisfaction against the ruling government. And worse, they used the time they had with passengers to express their frustration against the government. That’s more like a forced-idea-sharing to influence people.

Anywhere, the old man talked more about the taxi industry. Whether he is concerned about them or he is concerned on the fact that errand taxi drivers could be falsely-promoting the image of Malaysia. Either way, taxi drivers are the winner here.

But like I pointed out earlier, we should be expecting more from taxi drivers.

Or in my case, whenever I take a ride via taxi, I would rather talk about something else instead of politics, politics, politics.

Meanwhile, a few Umno-related people suddenly tried to score some brownie points from the news. Common excuse is that if they don’t do it, the opposition people will do it.

I don’t know if it is that hard for them to, at least, get some consultations first from the SPAD folks, before jumping off the gun too quick.

Like we all agreed, there will never be a right time to announce such fare hike, but isn’t there a rational explanation behind the act? It should be.

But to interfere the decision is rather childish. And I heard a minister said he will bring up this matter into the cabinet meeting. He hopes that the prime minister will listen to whatever reasons he has, and to the extend, commanding SPAD to withdraw the decision.

The same minister who gathered more than one hundred division leaders a few weeks ago to demand explanation from the prime minister about 1MDB where all of them were prepared with poster ‘Kami menyokong kepimpinan Perdana Menteri’ even though the dude has not arrived yet to explain about the controversial government-linked strategic investment entity.

Instead of doing that, the minister, and the Umno-related people who passed the memorandum to the SPAD yesterday, could at least try to pressure the taxi drivers to pay the ‘rakyat’ back with premium services.

Its a win-win situation right?