I think it’s really very bad or inconsiderate for me to do something like this, but I think I’d probably have to start somewhere anyway. You see, I was the passenger on SHA 7820 D from Ang Mo Kio to OUB Center and after I alighted from the cab near where I wanted to go to, he decided to go on break.

4:51pm How do I know? Well, I think the meter says so – amidst other things that indicates on-call pickup, ERP and, yes, break. At first, I found it rather strange that the driver did not go to the drop off point, where I was supposed to alight from. Moreover, it was still drizzling and… which taxi driver is that inconsiderate to let their passengers get off in the rain? I thought all taxi drivers are supposed to be helpful and considerate – as painted by the taxi companies?

4:53pm After walking briskly to the shelter where the drop off point is, I noticed that was a long queue at the drop off point – all visibly waiting for a cab. Then I realised. The cab driver was waiting till 5:00pm, when he can earn an additional $3.00 surcharge for picking up passengers during peak hour. In addition, he would also have earned an additional 35% off the $3.00, which works out to be about $1.00 – a grand total of $4.00! Just for waiting for 7 minutes more! You know how much that means? If you run it just on 35% off metered fare, that means the driver would have to travel till the amount of around $12.00. Now, for no rhyme or reason, he gets an additional $4.00! Which taxi driver won’t want that?

4:59pm There were visibly at least 2 taxis with the ON-CALL sign turned on (the first one with a card sign – the manual one, while the second one has the electronic version) and another with HIRED turned on with no one insider – both ON-CALL just opposite of a taxi stand with a long queue and the HIRED one just in front of the queue (I have got totally no idea why he was HIRED and waiting there with no one insider; maybe he just alighted someone who rushed back to office to grab something? I won’t know for sure). Hmm… Disappear Taxi before CBD Surcharge Kicks In Syndrome (DiTaBCeSKiS – the "Ce" represents the Central Business District in CBD)? Hmm… it’s a case of can-see-cannot-board (thanks, Alice).

5:00pm The first ON-CALL taxi moved forward to a drop off point and spoke briefly to one of the people who are waiting there. I am not sure what the conversation was about, but the taxi driver moved off without picking him up. The second one then drove up to the same place and spoke to the same person before picking him up. Needless to say, ON-CALL subsequently became HIRED and he drove off. I am not sure if that passenger (male) paid additional for the supposed ON-CALL, but I highly doubt so – I mean, if that passenger wanted to make a call, why did he bother standing there and waiting for a cab? Moreover, I don’t think that the 2nd cab meant to be the passenger’s on-call cab because the taxi driver had been waiting there for the longest time. I mean, if you were the driver, and you have a passenger who called for a cab, will you wait for  your passenger to run in the rain to your cab? In addition, the passenger who called would have specified that he or she is waiting at the drop off/pick-up point and not in the rain.

So, what’s the morale of this observation? I think we need a staggered CBD and peak hour surcharge. Perhaps the taxi companies can consider this following fare plan:

  • 4:30pm – 4:44pm: $0.50 CBD and 10% of metered fare
  • 4:45pm – 4:59pm: $1.00 CBD and 20% of metered fare
  • 5:00pm – 5:59pm: $2.00 CBD and 30% of metered fare
  • 6:00pm – 7:59pm: $3.00 CBD and 35% of metered fare
  • 8:00pm – 11:59pm: $3.00 CBD (and perhaps 40% of metered fare to cope with disappearing taxies in heartlands – courtesy of Alice again)

See? There you have it. A new fare plan to help cope with disappearing taxies before 5:00pm. I am sure a lot of people will welcome this idea – just like how we implemented the staggered surcharge for disappearing taxis before midnight.

Comments, anyone? =)

Ed: Oh ya, I have some photos to go along with this post – to be uploaded later. Thanks to Alice for bearing in the rain while I ran to the dentist for my surgery. See? I is Citizen blogger.

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