Apparently, when the pump was restored and the free fill offer given, a taxi driver that I spoke to told me that he drove all the way down from the East, queued up till 9pm and had to pay for his CNG since the offer is until 8pm. Moreover, there were 20 taxis in front of him, which probably hinted that it was going to be a wasted trip anyway.

Yes, 20 does not seem like a big number, but it the pump needs to rest for a while after pumping 5 cars and from the rate that it was going, it seemed like one of the pumps wasn’t working or was down for some reason.

Anyway, on the issue of CNG, apparently, it costs $12 to top up a regular-fitted tank on a Prime taxi and it runs for about 200km, compare this to $100 for a full petrol tank that runs for about 500km. This means it costs $30 to top up a CNG tank to give about the same mileage, if you do not mind having to run twice in between to the refueling station, that is.

Another less known fact is that it costs hirers $75 to rent a Honda Airwave Prime taxi and approximately $100 for the petrol and CNG a day, which means they usually start earning from 3pm onwards if they start driving from 6am. It used to be better, however, with the fuel hike and everyone keeping off taxis, this seemed to worsen the situation.

One thing is for sure though. Prime taxi bookings are to the brim because there’s no fanciful surcharge tiers for the passengers – making it less confusing for both the passengers and the drivers.

DRIVERS of the 420 or so green vehicles here that can run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and petrol can breathe a sigh of relief.

The breakdown at Singapore’s sole CNG refuelling station has been fixed after almost two weeks. During the time, long lines snaked at the station on Jurong Island as drivers typically had to wait an hour to fill up.

A compressor at the Semb- Corp Gas station had failed, leaving only one of the station’s two pumps operational. This pump had to pause for up to 15 minutes after filling three to five vehicles.

SembCorp Gas director Francis Gomez yesterday told The Straits Times that repairs were done by 1pm yesterday afternoon. As a gesture of goodwill, he added, SembCorp Gas topped up the tanks of the cars for free up to 8pm last night.

He had said earlier that the failure was ‘one in a thousand, or even one in a million’, which was why the company did not keep spares.

Yesterday, he reiterated that it was a ‘freak incident’.

SembCorp Gas’ Jurong Island station will soon no longer be the one and only refuelling stop for bi-fuel vehicles.

The company will open a new CNG refuelling kiosk at Singapore Petroleum Company’s Jalan Buroh station later this month.

Smart Taxis will also open another one in Mandai next month.

SHEFALI SRINIVAS

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 14th January 2008



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