SMRT increase taxi fare rates: thanks to PTC and ComfortDelGro

It was a foregone conclusion that the other taxi operators would follow taxi giant ComfortDelGro’s lead in increasing cab fares. Now SMRT Taxis has followed suit. The other three cab companies will likewise play catch-up.

Thanks to the Public Transport Council’s magnanimity in acceding to their request to increase fares, much to the chagrin of commuters.

Singapore is surely ranked number one when it comes to the creative use of all sorts of surcharges for its taxis. I understand taxi drivers need to earn a decent income to feed their families as well but this is not the way to go about it. Why can’t cab companies reduce taxi rentals in the first place? And why do taxis have to compete with private cars for COEs?

As a listed company, everybody knows ComfortDelGro is accountable to its shareholders. Hence it must remain profitable.

With the MRT and buses packed to the rafters, there isn’t much that commuters can do about it. Just pay and pay for the increases.

The irony is that with all the surcharges taxis are as rare as lunar rocks particularly during peak hours. In contrast in China and Hong Kong, just to cite two examples, taxis are plentiful and you don’t have long to wait for one.

Perhaps our taxi drivers are being pampered. For example, they have honed to perfection the art of vanishing during peak hours as they prefer you to make a phone booking as they stand to earn more this way.

They have given a whole new meaning to the term “survival of the fittest”.

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6 Responses to “SMRT increase taxi fare rates: thanks to PTC and ComfortDelGro”

  1. Roger,
    As someone who’s driven a taxi for a living (in the Free World), I am amazed, shocked and angered on a daily basis by the shenanigans indulged in by the taxi companies (and drivers) here. And standards have been declining rapidly of late. Whereas five or ten years ago, one could hop into a taxi anywhere in Singapore, give an address and be reasonably confident that the driver knew where you wanted to go and would get you there in the fastest, least expensive manner possible (giving you an informed choice if there was a difference), those days are long since over. We have sunk to KL levels of drivers picking where they’ll go, with the often lucrative expedient of asking the guest which route he wants to take. Without explaining the trade-offs (“well, sir, this route is shorter and cheaper but there’s likely to be more traffic; we’ll get there 5-10 minutes faster if we go this other way, that’ll probably cost you $2-3 extra”), the driver is free to suggest the route that will bring the highest fare, with the guest none the wiser but much the poorer.

    I really don’t expect this to change soon in our presently most top-down of societies; my long-held hope is that a post-PAP Government would end the scourge of corporatism, which fuses State and corporate power as Mussolini foretold, and instead remembers that the main job of any Government is to look after the needs and welfare of its (human) citizens and lawful residents. With separation between church and State, or business and State as the case may be, we can then set about the arduous task of turning Singapore’s millions of consumers (in Jerry Michalski’s famous words, “a gullet whose only purpose in life is to gulp products and crap cash”) into customers; people who realise that they are participants in a conversation, that they have rights as well as obligations, and that businesses exist to serve the needs of their customers, rather than the other way ’round as is the current Singaporean norm.

    That should happen about the same time pigs fly into orbit unaided, on current trends. Oh well.

    • Interesting and thought-provoking comments, Jeff. The web of vested interests in most things here means we will be squeezed for a long time to come.

  2. […] – Reflections On Change: Why ComfortDelGro Revised Its Taxi Fares – SpotlightOnSingapore: SMRT increase taxi fare rates: thanks to PTC and ComfortDelGro – Singapore Notes: Power To The Consumer – ZB: […]

  3. What is the “official” purpose of CoE and ERP? Controlling vehicle population and discouraging vehicle ownerships according to the government.

    So what is one of the effective way of achieving this purpose? Encouraging and make it easy and affordable for people to use public transport and less reliance of private vehicles.

    So my humble recommendations (don’t need to pay me million of dollars) is to get rid of CoE and ERP charges for taxis and any other public transport vehicles. This will effectively reduce the cost of running/operating the taxi which lead to lower rental cost for taxi and thus lower fare. Result : more people will be using the taxi and public transport, less car ownerships, less vehicle population and less traffic congestion. Other benefits : more environmental friendly, taxi company happy (can maintain the profit margin even with lower rental), stockholder of these companies will be happy, the cab drivers will be very happy, lower rental, more passengers, higher take home pay.

    Of course this will also lead to less revenue for the government and lower GDP growth.

    The reason that the government not going down this path? Do i need to state the obvious? It is as clear as the sky in a bright sunny day.

  4. Just wondering where our country’s heading. Like the taxis, towards a destination that will be too expensive for everyone.

    • Oh, not everyone, Andy! The Minister, His Cronies and their families and friends will be able to afford to take taxis anytime they choose. Of course, we’re already paying for more luxurious transport‚Ķ


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