Frankly, if you ask me, I think it’s all a sham. Haha… ok, maybe not as serious as that, but what I feel is that there is too much emphasis on the wants of taxi drivers to raise the fares. What taxi drivers want, I feel, is to take more bacon home. No, I don’t mean the Cold Storage ones, I mean money. Paycheck. Or whatever you call it.

Before I go into any argument of sorts, I’d like to point out a few things that I’d base my arguments on:

  1. Taxi drivers want more income
  2. Raising fare hikes is one of the ways for them to get more income – probably one of the more obvious ones
  3. Raising fare hikes is NOT THE ONLY method that is available for them to get more income

With that being pointed out, it’s now important to realise one thing: why are taxi drivers complaining about not having enough income? Some reasons cited includes:

  1. Increase in fuel charges
  2. Payment of ERP charges to go into the city area without passengers

In addition to this, there had also been an increase in rental shortly after the last fare hike. The amount however, varies from company to company.

The thing that I don’t get is, why isn’t the companies helping to bear to brunt of the increasing cost of the drivers? Isn’t it supposedly in the best of their interest to help the taxi drivers? Or are they really just like rental companies who are concerned with whether the taxi drivers are paying their rent via Giro and not bother about what happens to them?

I understand that the taxi companies are supposedly profitable organizations, but sometimes, I wonder if they treat their taxi drivers as customers, or do they really consider them as staff? After all, all they are concerned at the end of the day is seemingly ONLY the bottom line and perhaps passenger complains (which I am beginning to doubt because of this). Do they care whether their taxi drivers are in dire straits? Or do they care whether they can pay their rent on time?

Of course, they are help to lower the cost of diesel by providing their own pumps at their own centres, but have they considered that there may be drivers who live at the other end of Singapore and whether it’s worth it to go all the way down to the refuelling stations? If they really want to offer an option to the drivers, I feel that it’s a half-baked option.

For all I know, they might start increasing rentals from the taxi drivers now that the fare hike is confirmed. Perhaps I am really new and raw to the entire concept of capitalism and it probably goes deeper than what I had expected.

In fact you know what? I give up. I don’t think I want to care anymore. Raise taxi fares for all they like. Raise the rentals for all the want. Squeeze the damn daylights out of the taxi drivers and squeeze them dry. Milk them till there’s only bones and roughage left. After all, there will be generations after generations of taxi drivers – why bother about the current fleet? There will be new drivers to take over when the current fleet gives up. At the end of the day, passengers who need to take cabs will still take, those who don’t need to take will stop taking and the disappearing taxis syndrome will stop.

Good.

IT IS official. Taxi fares are going up.

Taxi giant ComfortDelGro Corp has notified the Public Transport Council (PTC) about an imminent fare increase. The PTC could not say more.

Commuters can expect to pay more from as early as the week before Christmas, as taxi operators have to inform the council at least two weeks before any fare changes.

For its part, ComfortDelGro again declined to comment, as it has for several weeks since speculation about a hike first started.

Sources, however, said the adjustment will include a 30-cent rise in flag-down rate. This would bring the minimum starting fare to $2.80. For newer cabs which meet the stringent Euro IV emission standard, the flag-down will go from $2.70 to $3.

Currently, ComfortDelGro has about 2,000 of such cabs in its fleet.

Commuters can expect changes to the distance and time-based charges too. Surcharges are also expected to be streamlined.

There is speculation that the operator might help cabbies defray electronic road- pricing charges to encourage them to enter the Central Business District – where demand for cabs is high.

The signs of a fare hike had been there for some time as cabbies and their associations have been lobbying for it for several months now, arguing the increase in diesel price and the goods and services tax have eroded drivers’ income substantially.

The plight of cabbies is not lost on commuters. Said merchandiser Ivy Ong, 41, who takes cabs regularly: ‘Will this fare adjustment be helping the taxi-drivers? If their taxi rental goes up, I don’t think it would.’

Citigroup Singapore strategist Lim Jit Soon does not think ComfortDelGro would raise rental this time round as it wants to retain as many drivers as possible ‘in this buoyant market’.

‘What it means is that it might gradually remove some subsidies,’ he said.

For instance, ComfortDelGro is still selling diesel to cabbies at 94 cents a litre, 36 cents cheaper than diesel dispensed at stations run by oil companies.

christan@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 5th December 2007



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