There’s one thing about taxis in Borneo, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah — the fares are more expensive than what you normally pay for the same distance in Kuala Lumpur. For instance, taxi fare from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to the city, which is less than 10km away, could set you back about RM30 (or about USD9.52). For the same distance in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll pay only about half that amount.
Part of the reason for this is that, unlike taxis in Peninsula Malaysia which run on natural gas, taxis in Borneo are running on RON95 petrol which costs a lot more.
The fare charged by airport taxis are based on standard price. For city taxis, you can expect some variations in the manner taxi drivers calculate their price.
Most taxis in Borneo are not metered. In Malaysia, taxi fares are regulated by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, a Federal Government agency. According to the information available on their website, taxi fares in Sabah are set at RM10 for the first 3km and 12 sen for the each 100 metres thereafter.
Whether taxi drivers will actually charge you at that calculation is another story; as they seem to have a standard fare guideline of their own.
This is not to say they had the tendency to fleece their customers; it just that they would not go all the way calculating the fare against the reading on their odometers.
And speaking of Borneo taxis, here’s an interesting article about how taxi drivers in Phuket, Thailand, may benefit from learning a thing or two from their counterparts in Borneo. The article, however, is about taxi drivers in Kuching, Sarawak.
Anyway, here’s a list of transportation fares for Sabah, in case you want to know. I’d be happy to transliterate them in English if you want to know what is written in the Malay-language document.