Pricing increasing and service sucks, i want to say this cos like place in bukit panjang when i need cab urgently i didnt even get a cab and sometimes i even need to wait about 1hr than get a cab...COME next Monday, prepare to fork out as much as 49 per cent more in taxi fares, now that ComfortDelgro, Singapore's biggest player, has unveiled its 'overhaul' of the current taxi fare structure.
This follows what it says was an 'in-depth review' of the taxi industry to address commuters' concerns, simplify the fare structure and encourage call bookings 'to better match the demand and supply of taxis'.
City Area Surcharge - Up
First, to incentivise more cabbies to ply the Central Business District during peak hours, the city area surcharge, which is now $1, will be raised to $3 between 5pm and midnight from Mondays to Saturdays.
The lack of taxis in the city at the end of office hours on weekday evenings is a frequent complaint from passengers, the company noted.
For drivers who are afraid of paying Electronic Road Pricing charges to enter the city and risk not getting a passenger, ComfortDelgro says it will even pay an 'ERP rebate' to cabbies who cannot land a passenger within 15 minutes of entering an ERP zone.
Late Night Surcharge - Up
The late night surcharge between 12am and 5:59am daily will be revised back to 50 per cent of the metred fare - instead of the staggered 10 to 50 per cent surcharges now in effect.
Will this revive the old problem of 'disappearing taxis' between 11pm to midnight? The company says no, 'given that the City Area Surcharge will be in force right till midnight, giving little reason for taxi drivers in the city to 'hide'.'
Peak Period Surcharge - Up
Instead of the standard $2 peak period surcharge now in effect between 7am and 9.30am on weekdays and 5pm to 8pm from Mondays to Saturdays, passengers will have to pay an added 35 per cent of their metered fare during those hours.
A detailed breakdown of this extra 'premium fare' will be shown on each receipt 'to ensure transparency', the company says.
Flag down, distance rate, waiting time - Changed
As hinted earlier, the flag down fare will be raised by 30 cents from $2.50 to $2.80 for the first kilometre.
But the distance rate and waiting time will also be adjusted to 'more accurately reflect the cost of travel', it added. So instead of upping fares by 10 cents for each set distance or waiitng time, this will soon go up by 20 cents each time.
Specifically, every 385 metres for the second to 10th kilometres, and every 330 metres above 10 kilometres.
The waiting time will also be raised from the current 10 cents for every 25 seconds to 20 cents for every 45 seconds.
Call Booking Fee - Down
Bucking the trend of the increases, call booking fees will be cut from $4 to $3.50 during prime time hours, which are 7am to 9.30am and 5pm to 11pm on weekdays.
It stays at $2.50 for all other times.
10 to 49 per cent more in overall fares
Under the new pricing structure, ComfortDelgro says, the bulk of its passengers who travel during off-peak hours will pay 10 per cent more in fares.
All other passengers will be expected to pay between 18 per cent and 49 per cent more.
The biggest jump in fares will affect those who take cabs out of the city from Mondays to Thursdays, between 8pm and midnight. Instead of $7.65 currently for an average 9km trip, they'll have to fork out $11.40.
With all these changes factored in, ComfortDelgro explained, peak-hour cab fares in Singapore are about the same as Hong Kong's but still only half that of Sydney's.
Local fares are also only about a quarter of London's.
'Better match supply and demand'
Refering specifically to the current difficulty of getting cabs in the city during peak hours, ComfortDelgro's CEO (Taxi Business), Mr Yang Ban Seng, said: 'We think this fare revamp will better match supply and demand of taxis. Our aim is to try and ensure that more taxis will go to areas where they are needed most and at the times they are wanted most.'
Mr Nah Tua Bah, president of the Comfort Taxi Operators' Association, added: "The higher city area surcharge will act an an incentive for drivers to make that trip back into town."
Welcoming the increases, a joint statement by six taxi operators' associations called the latest fare adjustments 'fair and timely'.
The associations said cab fares should 'reflect the operating cost of the taxi business' and that the primary consideration should be the 'income stability' of drivers. The group urged other taxi companies to follow ComfortDelgro's lead and also adjust their fares 'as soon as possible'.