Every time before I flag down a taxi, I have to consider the following (very important, must read) things:

  • Where am I? Am I in CBD?
    • If I am in CBD, is it CBD peak hour? (+$1)
  • Is it morning or evening peak hour ? (+$2)
  • Is it 11:30pm to 11:44pm? (+10%)
  • Is it 11:44pm to 11:59pm? (+20%)
  • Is it 12:00am to 6:00am (+50%)
  • Is it a major holiday? (+$1)
  • Am I at “special locations”?
    • If yes, am I at Changi Airport or Changi Air Freight Center?
      • If yes, is it a Friday, Saturday or Sunday?
        • If yes, is it 5:00pm to 12:00am? (+$5)
        • If no (+$3)
      • If no (+$3)
    • If yes, am I at Seletar Airport? (+$3)
    • If yes, am I at Singapore Expo Center? (+$2)
  • Would I like to make a booking?
    • If yes, is it an advanced booking? (+$5.20)
    • If yes, is it a current booking?
      • If yes, is it morning or evening peak hour? (+$4)
      • If no (+$2.50)
  • Is it ERP timing?
    • If yes (+$???)
  • Am I going to Fuji Xerox Tower drop-off?
    • If yes, is it ERP timing? (+$???)

Quite a headache, isn’t it?

To add to that, there’s a difference if you take a normal, eco-friendly or limousine cab, which has a flag-down rate of $2.50, $2.70 and $2.80 respectively.

For those who are interested on the running charges, it’s $0.10 for every 210 meters thereafter or less up to 10km (meaning, they charge you first before moving 210 meters) and $0.10 for every 175 meters thereafter or less after 10km.

In addition, for every 25 seconds of waiting or less, it’s $0.10. Travelling speeds of less than 40km/h (or somewhere around there) is considered into waiting time + travelling time.

Peak Hour Surcharge is based on the following timing of Monday to Friday from 7.00am to 9.30am and Monday to Saturday from 5.00pm to 8.00pm where the surcharge is $2.00. This is only applicable at the time when you board the cab and is not applicable on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Midnight Surcharge is calculated based on the timings 11:30pm to 11:44pm daily for an additional 10% of basic fare, 11:45pm to 11:59pm daily for an additional 20% of basic fare and 12:00am to 6:00am for an additional 50% of basic fare.

Central Business District (CBD) Surcharges are from Monday to Thursday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm and Friday to Saturday from 5:00pm to 11:30pm. This is charged at $1.00, and is only applicable for trips starting from CBD area and not applicable on Sundays and Public Holidays. Do note that the CBD surcharge is payable on top of the Peak Hour Surcharge.

The Public Holiday Surcharge starts from 6:00pm on the eve to 12:00am (the midnight after the holiday) of the public holidays: New Year’s Day, 1st and 2nd Day of Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali and Christmas Day and is chargeable at $1.00. Do note that where the above holiday falls on a Sunday and the following Monday is a holiday, the Public Holiday Surcharge will be payable up to 12 midnight of Monday.

The Location Surcharges are based on 3 different places, namely Changi Airport & Changi Air Freight Centre, where a surcharge of $5.00 is applicable if it’s a Friday, Saturday or Sunday from 5:00pm to 12:00am or $3.00 at all other times; Seletar Airport where a surcharge of $3.00 is applicable and Singapore Expo Centre, where a surcharge of $2.00 is applicable.

If you intend to book a taxi, there are 2 types of bookings – current bookings and advanced booking. For current bookings, the booking fee is $4.00 for a normal/eco taxi on a Monday to Friday from 7:00am to 9:30am and 5:00pm to 11:00pm and $8.00 for a limousine taxi. For all other times including Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays, it’s $2.50 for a normal/eco taxi and $8.00 for the limousine.

For advanced bookings (at least half an hour in advance), it’s $5.20 for a normal/eco taxi and $16.00 for a limousine taxi. This is regardless of timing.

Lastly, there is the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) Charges, which you would have to reimburse the taxi driver if you travel under one (there are really many, maybe I’ll compile one soon) or if you alight at Fuji Xerox Tower drop-off because there’s a gantry when the taxi drives out, regardless of whether he managed to get a passenger from the drop-off.

And now, there is a Location Surcharge? What will be next? Diesel Surcharge (there actually already is, but is borne by the taxi company), Non-stopping at Taxi Stand Surcharge… what others can you think of? =)

WHILE travelling from Yio Chu Kang to Tanjong Pagar, a passenger in a taxi chalked up $6 in various surcharges.

When asked to pay for these ‘add-ons’, the expatriate man refused and stormed out of the taxi despite taxi driver Foo Say Hock’s explanations.

‘I followed him inside the office building, found the receptionist and asked her to explain it to him. In the end he paid,’ said the 60-year-old taxi driver who has been driving for eight years.

‘We explain most of the time or we hand them the receipt to clear up doubt. But a simple model might be better for both sides.’

Several taxi drivers The Straits Times spoke to said that the series of surcharges added on to fares can sometimes get them in scraps with their passengers.

Even with taxi drivers claiming they are honest and that these are legitimate charges, passengers still believe they are being taken for a ride.

What leads to these disagreements?

In most cases, it is because the main panel on the meter does not reflect all the surcharges.

During the journey, the panel generally reflects the flag down rate and the charges based on the distance travelled.

When a passenger reaches his destination and asks for the fare, he expects to pay what is on the screen, but instead the taxi driver presses a button on the meter which then gives the full fare.

These surcharges, however, are reflected in the receipts of majority of the taxis.

ComfortDelgro, the biggest taxi company here, for example, said that their receipts show clear breakdowns of the different surcharges which are in place.

Among the surcharges which are in place are the airport surcharge, peak hour surcharge, public holiday surcharge and the call booking charge.

There is also the Electronic Road Pricing charge which passengers must pay, and the staggered midnight charges for taking a taxi in the wee hours of the morning.

While experts agreed that these charges may seem complicated to commuters, most supported the view that these charges served specific purposes.

NUS Professor Lee Der-Hong, however, believes otherwise.

The professor with the faculty of civil engineering pointed out that removing the surcharges and raising the flag down rate would work because for example, there would be difficulty in getting drivers to ‘work the graveyard shift’.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 19th November 2007

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