More cabs? Really?

Singapore December 18th, 2007

There were apparently no shortage of cabs in the town area and at the fringe of the town area yesterday – the Straits Times reported. Perhaps the $3.00 is sufficient to entice drivers into waiting for passengers at the queue yesterday? Or perhaps they were warned encouraged not to all wander into the CBD because the grandfather company is paying for their ERP surcharge if they don’t get a passenger within 15 minutes? Was there some string attached to the condition on the ERP? I definitely won’t know.

With regards to the disappearing taxis before 5:00pm syndrome, I’m not sure if it was already an existing problem, but I remembered 1 year ago, it was never that difficult to look for a cab even at 4:45pm. Well, perhaps again, it’s a demand and supply issue, but what I witnessed yesterday was definitely disgusting. In order to earn that extra $3.00 and to count the flag down rate into the 35% surcharge (which works out a dollar more – 35% of $2.80 is about $0.98), the taxi driver actually had the cheek to "go for a break" and come back when it’s after 5:00pm. It’s downright unscrupulous!

With regards to the Straits Times report, what they are reporting or reviewing is just the tip of the iceberg. They should have done a comparison of queues before the hike and after – at the last 15 to 30 minutes before 5:00pm to see if it had worsen. That may have better portrayed if the problem is created by the taxi drivers or not. I mean, who really takes a cab at 4:45pm anyway? Assuming that most working people get off at 5:00pm (which is a luxury) or 5:30pm to 6:00pm, if not later?

Oh well, I guess the true effects of the fare hike will only come in much later. Perhaps Singaporeans will forget about the hike and just start taking cabs again and then, it’s time for another hike.

Huat ah!

THE new city area surcharge of $3 – up from $1 – had cab operators worried that cabbies would avoid taxi stands in the city fringes and head to where the money was.

But this was not the case yesterday. A check by The Straits Times found a steady flow of cabs at two of the 10 city fringe taxi stands, located within 500m of the central business district (CBD).

At Far East Plaza, for example, there was even a queue of about 12 taxis at about 6.15pm, with no passenger in sight, although the drivers could have earned an extra $3 by heading down the road to the taxi stand at Lucky Plaza, within the CBD.

Between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, the average waiting time for a cab was about five minutes at Pacific Plaza and 10 minutes at Far East Plaza, both in Scotts Road – just outside the city area.

But as it was just Day 1 of higher fares,the Land Transport Authority said that it would monitor the city fringe for some time and then work with taxi companies if there is a problem.

ComfortDelGro started its new city surcharges yesterday, along with increased metered fares, flag-down rates and peak-period premiums.

Passengers will have to pay about 10 per cent more on their fares during non-peak hours, but 18 to 49 per cent more during peak hours.

Four other cab companies – SMRT Taxis, Trans-Cab, Premier and Smart – are following suit within the next two weeks.

Prime Taxis will be increasing only its city surcharge.

mariaa@sph.com.sg

wycin@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 18th December 2007



Reader's Comments

  1. DK | December 18th, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Well, perhaps there are lesser people taking cab yesterday. That why they are queuing up.

  2. gnayenelrahc | December 18th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    It was reported in last night’s Channel 8 news that the shortage of taxi problem is still happening. The Channel 8 reporter interviewed those passengers who were waiting for the taxi and passengers says that “today is the same as before, no taxi. ”

    Can refer to the news video at http://www.xin.sg/news.php 附加费虽提高 进市区的德士仍然不足 click on the video icon to watch the news.

    After what happen to the many untrue news reported by Straits Times, The Newpaper about Sunshine Empire, I seriously have doubt in the reliability and credibility of the reports published by Straits Times. Afterall, Straits Times belongs to SPH and SPH belongs to the government. They have the influential ability to say things they want Singaporeans to know.

    I think they are just trying to let people know that this suggestion can really solve the problems of taxi drivers not wanting to pick up passengers in CBD areas. But does this really solve the problem? Only passengers know. Readers of Straits Times will most probably believe what is reported but is this report true? I don’t think so.

  3. I think Singapore’s traffic is worse than Ho Chi Minh and Taipei! « Highway of Life | December 18th, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    […] compare this to Singapore’s cab situation which has caused quite a bit of buzz on the Singapore blogosphere […]

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