KUALA LUMPUR –SOME taxi drivers are against the idea of raising taxi fares as this may turn this form of public transport into a “luxury” service. The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has been working on a proposal to increase taxi service charges and has given briefings on the issue to all stakeholders, including taxi drivers. But Metered-Taxi Drivers Joint-Action Group president Amran Jan says the group’s members were against the idea. “We would rather that SPAD reduce the number of taxi permits. Nationwide, there are about 80,000 plus taxi permits and more than half of them are in the Klang Valley alone.” He told The Rakyat Post yesterday that their members wanted SPAD to reduce the number of taxi permits, especially those given to taxi companies. Amran said they had already proposed that the number of permits given to taxi companies be reduced and that those who broke the law should also have their permits withdrawn. He rationalised that the move to increase taxi fares would only cause more hardship to the public in view of the rising cost of living. If the fares went up, it would become harder to get passengers because many people would opt to take the bus or the light rail transit (LRT). “Taxi drivers will start competing for passengers, and this may result in unnecessary problems and conflicts. Such things will reflect badly on taxi drivers,” Amran said. Taxi driver Sharudin Samsul said taxis provided an important public service and SPAD should look into this aspect before increasing taxi fares. He said there was no reason to burden the public unnecessarily. “We are already earning a good living.As long as drivers work hard, there is no reason for them to complain.” Another driver, Siva, who has been driving a taxi for the last 10 years, also wanted taxi fares to remain, saying there was no reason to increase fares as most drivers were doing “okay”.