Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taxi Fare Hike - Attempting to solve a problem but creates another?

We have “solved” another problem by doing it the Singaporean way, this time through a massive taxi fare hike. The so-called “in-depth review” of the taxi industry to address taxi passengers’ concerns is, in my own words, a world-class flop.

First, the peak hour surcharge of $2 has been replaced by a variable 35% surcharge of metered fare. With the change, technically only trips with taxi metered fares of around $6 will not see any peak hour surcharge hike. However with the increase in the distance meter and waiting time rate, I can confidently conclude almost all taxi trips will see a huge jump in the peak hour surcharge portion (probably in the region of $4 and more) of the fare especially for passengers on long-distance trips as the further they travel, the more they have to pay for the surcharge.

Question: Did the management ever think it might be an overkill? To solve the problem of insufficient cabs during peak hours with a massive surcharge hike, ComfortDelgro, together with the rest of the taxi companies which are sure to follow suit, will just be playing a game of “musical chairs”, forcing more people to switch to the already crowded public transport (MRT and buses). This is really creating a solution just for the sake of it.

Next, city area surcharge upped from $1 to $3. It does sound like a great solution to draw more taxis into the CBD to pick up passengers but think of it this way, if the CBD surcharge is increased 3 times the current level, won’t you get a situation where there are really more taxis in the CBD but on the other hand, greedy taxi drivers will avoid the outskirts of the CBD as they would rather drive into the CBD to earn the $3 surcharge. $3 is not a small amount of money. It’s the cost of a meal at the food court. What makes the management think the drivers would not do this to maximise their earnings? Attempting to solve a problem but creates another?

What happens to those waiting anxiously for taxi on the outskirts such as VivoCity, Eu Tong Sen Street etc? Force them, I mean encourage them to make taxi bookings? Great idea to fleece more money from the public, isn’t it?

A final note: The taxi companies should not raise taxi rentals and taxi diesel prices unnecessarily for the next few years. Don’t make this current taxi fare hike a prelude for an attempt to raise taxi rentals in the near future to beef up profits. They already have more than enough to answer to their shareholders.

*FM 95.8 had a call-in programme yesterday and amazingly all taxi drivers who called in were against the taxi fare hike, stating that the hike will not improve their livelihood. The guest speaker, who takes the mode of transport daily to and from work, laments over the extra amount of money she has to spend and feels she may need to switch to public transport.

More reads:
83% Hike in Taxi Fares not Comforting
at all
Taxi fare hikes: Opinions
A Flat Fee Suffices - On Taxi Fares in Singapore
Our Great Transport Hikes


Singapore Limousine Concierge said...

I think it’s a blessing for those who are running a limousine service business in Singapore. I get more bookings recently and this could be due to the recent taxi fare restructure. Many people are more comfortable when they can know the exact price or charges that they are supposed to pay before the journey.

xanvife said...


I'm an undergrad in NUS. Im doing my final year project and i would like to use opinions expressed on the recent taxi fare hike from your blog.

as part of my experiment, the essay (with alteration) is framed to be written by a person. may I use it w/o referencing it during the experiment? this is because the participants might suspect otherwise and my data might be skewed.

however, rest assured that it will be referenced in my thesis upon submission for examination. may i seek your approval for this?


James Chia said...

Xanvife, no problem.