It’s apparently against the law for taxis in Penang island not to use their meters. But they will always say they don’t have one and no amount of arguments will help you if you are a tourist.
The other day it started raining and I was contemplating catching a cab because there was a rank nearby.
When I asked “With the meter, yeah?” the driver was like “ooohh no. I don’t have a meter.” Then quoted me a ridiculous price.
“I know it’s the law here that you need to use your meter,” I snapped back.
He pauses for a minute, then goes “oooohh no, that hasn’t come in yet. Next year.”
I cross my arms and lift an eyebrow.
He figures I need more proof. He points to a sign in Malay.
“That sign says it. Not… until… next… year!” He points at the (alleged) words as he says them, like you would if you were teaching a child to read.
Bad move buddy. Bahasa Melayu (Malay) and Bahasa Indonesia are about 85-90 percent the same. Plus, I watch a lot of Star World and on all the cable channels in Indonesia, the subtitles are in Malay anyway.
“Aku bisa membaca bahasa Malayu, Pak. (I can read Malay, sir). That sign says that it is forbidden for taxis to take passengers without using their meter. It doesn’t say ‘tahun depan’ (next year) anywhere on it.”
“So with a meter?”
“No, it’s broken.”
I ended up walking, as a matter of principle.