KUALA LUMPUR: Historical city, Malacca, has added another feather to its cap by having its first metered taxi service called 1Malaysia Cab.
Operated by Warisan Astana Sdn Bhd, the 1Malaysia Cab services started in Malacca in October last year.
It offers Malacca folk and tourists metered taxi services that can be hired via its hunting line.
Warisan Astana executive director Ismail Mahmood said there are 20 executive cabs in Malacca and their fleet are easily recognisable through the trademark blue colour codes. The cars used are Kia Optima and Toyota Innova.
Six months into its operations, Ismail said the service is well-received by both locals and tourists with a cab making an average of seven to eight trips daily.
By end of the year, Ismail said the company is targeting to increase the number of cabs to 50.
"We decided to start this taxi service as there are a lot of city taxis here that don't use meters. They are said to be charging passengers exorbitantly, between RM15 to RM20, for a short ride from Bandar Hilir to Jonker Street. We've tested the system and our meter showed that the trip costs only about RM9.
"Our presence in Malacca does not threaten the livelihood of other cabbies as we focus largely on tourists. We can also ferry passengers all over the country through a packaged deal.
"We complement the city taxis as Malacca does not have executive taxi services. Besides, the public now has an option in terms of transport," said Ismail.
1Malaysia Cab services operate on a tariff approved by the government. Ismail said the meter starts at RM6 and for every 100m it travels, there will be a 20 sen increase.
If the taxi is stationary, the meter jumps 20 sen every 20 seconds. If a passenger calls for a taxi through its hunting line, an additional RM2 will be charged.
Asked if the starting price of RM6 was steep, Ismail said: "We want passengers to try out our executive taxis because our vehicles are comfortable and spacious. We prioritise the safety of our passengers and our taxis are equipped with Global Positioning System devices and their whereabouts can be tracked.
"The GPS system also allows us to inform our passengers the taxis estimated time of arrival at their doorstep should they call for one through the hunting line. Those are our added services.
"Also, the issue of our drivers not using meters will not arise as we have installed seat sensors that activate the meter automatically. Receipts will be issued upon request," he said.
As part of its promotional campaign to increase awareness of its service, Ismail said they're offering a 20 per cent discount to passengers.
Warisan Astana is also working with hotels such as A'Famosa Resort in Alor Gajah and Renaissance Hotel that allow its executive taxis to be based on their premises for the use of hotel guests.
Pahlawan Mall in Bandar Hilir, he added, has also allowed Warisan Astana to have its own taxi stand in front of the complex.
On May 1, they are expected to start their services at the Malacca International Airport.
The 1Malaysia Cab is based at the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh. It operates from 6am to midnight daily. For a cab, call 06-2331 666.