Malaysia — Kuala Lumpur — Speeding taxi from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2), 64000 Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia

The night I thought I was going to die

June 2015

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in taxis, and this is one journey I will never forget.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) is big. We spent 20 minutes on the plane taxiing to the stand, and it seemed to take forever to walk to the baggage claim and then to the taxi rank. The airport is about one hour by taxi from the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

As with most airports in Malaysia, you pay for your taxi at a taxi counter inside the airport. I like this as it means you are less likely to be ripped off. However, there are two downsides. First, a driver may think he can drive like a 'bat out of hell' to get you dropped off and move on to his next fare. Or the driver feels he can take liberties with your time as he knows you won't feel he is trying to rip you off. They might burn your time by stopping for petrol or snacks. The taxi on this trip had a fuel stop, which added 20 minutes to the journey. But it gets worse — the cab also went like a 'bat out of hell’. I had the double whammy.

I don’t think I have ever felt so unsafe in a taxi. He was driving a Proton and managed to get it up to 91 mph (ca. 146 km/h), which is impressive if it wasn’t so damned unsafe.

I drove a Proton for two years, and my Proton was newer and in better condition than the taxi. I would never dream of driving my Proton at 91 mph (ca. 146 km/h) because it becomes scary above 50 mph (ca. 80 km/h). The car handles poorly, and the brakes are awful.

Screen grab by Author — Kuala Lumpur taxi driver doing 91 mph (ca. 146 km/h) in a Proton
Screen grab by Author — Kuala Lumpur taxi driver doing 91 mph (ca. 146 km/h) in a Proton

The ride was terrifying. I wondered if I would survive or if this was it. The end. Death by taxi. And to make it worse — in a Proton.

I did think about reporting the driver (the taxi number should be displayed on the dashboard and above each door pillar), but in this cab, they were absent (and yes, I did get the taxi from the official rank at KLIA2). I meant to get the car number when I got out of the cab, but when I did get to the hotel, I was so relieved to get out of the vehicle alive that it slipped my mind.

What a ride.