Yes, despite all the brouhaha, despite all the threats to ever stop taking taxis in their whole lives, Singaporeans have succumbed to the fare hikes of the cabs and have resumed taking taxis as their daily means of transport. I suspected something was wrong when many taxi drivers where choosing locations when a group us were trying to flag a cab because our car broke down. My suspicions got aroused when a taxi driver waved me off like some fly. Then all these are confirmed in today’s article in the papers.

So now, all the taxi drivers can afford to be arrogant again and pick and choose passengers. I wonder when is the next time cabbies complain again. In fact, I even hear some rivers complaining that it’s still not enough and thay want more hikes! Gee… However, I wonder even more on when the taxi companies are going to raise the taxi rental fees to create that void that can only be filled by more of the commuter’s wallet.

Oh wait! The increase fuel cost may just create that void!

Oh happy day! (oh happy day!) Oh happy day! (oh happy day….) *suck thumb*

THE chorus of complaints that came from the taxi industry after fares were raised in December last year seems to have died down.

Although some customers initially stayed away from taxis, there has been a turnaround, and with it fears that the earnings of cabbies would drop seem to have eased, according to surveys done by the country’s two biggest taxi companies.

ComfortDelgro, the largest taxi operator here with about 15,000 of the country’s 24,000 taxis, saw a 16 per cent increase in takings for a cabby’s full day of work.

For a full-day shift, cabbies are earning $187.92, up from $162 before the fare revision, after deducting the cost of fuel and renting the cab.

SMRT, which has about 3,000 cabs on the road, said cabbies saw a 20 per cent increase in gross income in the first quarter of this year, compared with the last quarter of last year.

The data came from a survey of about 300 taxi drivers.

In a bid to alleviate a taxi shortage and raise the drivers’ earnings, the six taxi companies increased their starting metered fare from $2.50 to $2.80 in December.

The meter was also adjusted to tick faster, with 20 cents charged for every 385m up to 10km travelled, instead of 10 cents for every 210m.

However, commuters were most peeved by a revised peak-hour surcharge which was tweaked from a flat $2 to 35 per cent of the metered fare. The surcharge for picking up passengers in the city centre also went up from $1 to $3.

After first avoiding taxis in favour of public transport, more commuters seem to be going back to them.

The average daily ridership for taxis for January was 855,000 while February’s went up to 934,000.

Last year, the average daily ridership was 945,000.

Said 55-year-old cabby Haniff Mahbob, who has been on the job for 20 years: ‘After fares went up, we had few customers. But luckily the new fares offset our lost business. Now, business is definitely picking up. I’m sure more drivers have bigger smiles on their faces.’

Call bookings are also on the rise this year, according to ComfortDelgro.

The company will also soon offer a service which allows passengers to book a cab by sending an SMS message with their postal code and pick-up location.

The Taxi Operators’ Associations, which represents drivers’ associations of five of the six taxi companies, said: ‘The situation seems to have stabilised and improved, but we are still quite concerned that rising fuel cost may eat into our drivers’ income.’

Oil prices hit a record US$117.50 (S$160) a barrel this week.

On average, taxi drivers on a full-day shift spend close to $40 on diesel and about $90 on cab rental.

mariaa@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 25th April 2008



Reader's Comments

  1. Jwong | April 25th, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Statistics and figures are just that. Made up for the convenience of the people making it up. Hey, I can come up with some pretty decent stats as well. The last few times I spoke to taxi drivers they still claim to be earning less money than before. 8 out of 10, expressed displeasure. And of the 8, 2 actually used curse words.

    Want more numbers?

    Work it out, with a 30-day work-month, drivers are raking in about $5640 monthly. Roughly $2820 per person if two people share the full shift.

    How much can the average Joe expect to earn as a decent salary? $3000? Compare that with the cab drivers?

    Now imagine Joe having to pay for a car as well. Deduct that amount and compare again.

  2. Daily SG: 25 Apr 2008 « The Singapore Daily | April 25th, 2008 at 11:18 am

    […] ERPains, Trains and Automobiles – Simply Jean: Singaporeans succumb to convenience of taxis, even willing to pay higher fares […]

  3. Onlooker | April 26th, 2008 at 1:45 am

    And one must always note that Factors like these(Transport sol Bike) are the real crunch that inflation hit.
    Other Crunch include Childcare ,University(aka education) Fees and Food(Hungry people = angry people sol vegan/potatoes:( ).
    These are the main factor for The Middle Squeeze.
    Another Factor is the protection by labour union have been remove/eroded causing the Wage Difference to increase.
    The Situation is further aggravated by The Bidding system for project lien which favor the Connected or the cheapest. Hence the Stalling of upgrade project in GohWarmer due to lack of fund in years gone by.

  4. ST Kee | June 30th, 2008 at 5:32 am

    For the benefit of those people that are too free and loves to keep on comparing our taxi fare and services to other countries.

    For a start, I would like to present the taxi fare structures of the most commented and compared, Hong Kong Taxis:

    They have 3 different types of taxis that are not allow to cross each other boundaries, and currently there are 18,138 taxis in Hong Kong, of which 15,250 are urban taxis, 2,838 are NT taxis and 50 are Lantau taxis. The average daily taxi patronage is about 1 million. Most of them are privately owned.
    The fare table for the Urban Taxis is as follow:

    Urban Taxis:
    1st 2km – HKD 16 (approx. SGD 2.8)
    Every 200m – HKD 1.4 (approx. SGD 0.25)
    Every 1min waiting – HKD 1.4 (approx. SGD 0.25)

    Every baggage – HKD 5 (approx. SGD 0.89)
    Every animal or bird – HKD 5 (approx. SGD 0.89)
    Every phone booking – HKD 5 (approx. SGD 0.89)
    Cross Harbour Tunnel Toll surcharge – Toll paid by driver + HKD10 (return toll)
    Eastern Harbour Crossing Toll surcharge – Toll paid by driver + HKD15 (return toll)
    Western Harbour Crossing Toll surcharge – Toll paid by driver + HKD15 (return toll)
    Lantau Link – HKD 30
    Other toll tunnels and toll roads – Amount of toll paid by driver

    Baggage / animals and birds charge :
    As a general rule, baggage charge may be levied on :
    1) every piece of baggage that is carried inside the luggage compartment, and
    2) every piece of baggage with total dimensions (length + width + height) exceeding 140 cm that is carried inside the passenger compartment
    Wheelchairs and crutches of passengers with disabilities are carried free of charge.
    The terms and conditions on the carriage of animals and birds are at the sole discretion of the taxi driver.
    The driver is also not abliged to give change for HKD500 and HKD1000 bank notes.

    For more information please refer to the HK transport department website:
    http://www.td.gov.hk/transport_in_hong_kong/public_transport/taxi/taxi_fare_of_hong_kong/index.htm

    Based on the above fare table, not considering waiting time and other surcharges comparing Singapore’s Toyota Crown taxis rate as it is the same type of taxi as HK:

    A 15km journey in HK would cost approx. HKD16 + (HKD1.4 per 200m x 13km) = HKD 107 (approx. SGD18.7)
    The same journey in Singapore would cost approx. SGD 2.8 + (SGD 0.2 per 385m x 10km) + (SGD 0.2 per 300m x 4km) = SGD 10.6 only.
    Even if you take a Limo-cab, it will be only SGD0.40 more…

    From this comparison, Singapore taxis are approx. 40% cheaper than HK.
    Thus, even if it is with the current 35% peak hour surcharge, it is still marginally cheaper.
    Please bear in mind that the 35% peak hour surcharge is only from 7am to 930am (Mon to Fri)and 5pm to 8pm(Mon to Sat),
    which work out to be only (5.5hrs x 5 days) + 3hrs(sat) = 30.5hrs per week,
    whereas, in HK their fares is on average approx. 40% higher 24hrs x7 days = 168hrs per week…

    Furthermore, their fuel prices are much lower than Singapore based on the recent press release on worldwide fuel prices. Singapore fuel prices has been ranked even higher than Toyko. They also have fewer taxis compared to Singapore.
    Thus, lesser competitions + higher fares = better income for drivers = Happy Driver.

    Their transport department is also very keen in helping their taxi driver by relaxing their no-stopping restriction for taxi’s picking up and dropping off passengers in restricted zones to strengthen their role in providing a personalized, point-to-point service. {quoted from http://www.td.gov.hk}, [fyi, their non-stopping restrictiion applys to all vehicles in the restricted zones and doesn’t discriminate against a certain type of vehicle as in Singapore] the department are also providing cash grant of up to HKD40,000 to encourage diesel taxi drivers to convert to LPG taxis…

    Please be realistic and stop making the life of our fellow taxi uncles miserable…
    Ask yourself this, will you be worried if your wife or your girlfriend take a taxi home alone in the middle of the night in Singapore? Who do you call if you are in some ulu places in Singapore in the middle of the night trying to go home?
    Statistically, how many cases of passengers been victim of taxi drivers,compared to taxi drivers been the victim of non-payment, robbery, etc….

    And to all the naive people of sillypore… if you can’t afford it or feel that Singapore taxis are simply lousy, there is always the “world class public transport” to take or just walk home…

  5. Simply Jean » Blog Archive » Are we lamenting on taxi fares? And news of taxi fuel surcharge | July 1st, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    […] got a reply to one of my earlier posts here. The comment basically highlighted the fares in other countries – particularly Hong Kong. I […]

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: