Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Goodbye Taxi Hello MRT+BUS.....

I have a confession to make. I've been watching History Channel every night until 1am and can't get up in time for work. As a result, I have been taking taxi to work for the past few months contributing to the high demand for cabs during the morning peak hour. ...and burning a hole in my own pocket.
Thanks to Comfort Cab's new fares, I feel so motivated to sleep early and wake up earlier in time to take the bus/MRT. Yes, I would like to free up the taxis for my fellow Singaporeans. I'm sure many of them will whine alot but will still be taking the taxis on Monday when the new fares are implemented.

I would like to thank MP Seng Han Thong for urging taxi companies to increase I have to adopt a healthier lifestyle and sleep early.... our MPs care so much about us. Of course, smelling armpits on our crowded MRTs may not be a good way to start the day but it is a small price to pay. For those of you who have decided to continue taking taxis, I just want to say that you're helping to contribute to one of our corporations with your effort.

ComfortDelgro Profits
2006 - S$244.6 million
2005 - S$201.9 milion
2004 - S$200.6 million
2003 - S$134.0 million

Sometimes you wonder why taxi drivers cannot be given taxi licenses directly but are made to rent taxis from a middleman like Comfort that just sits there to collect from the labor of thousands of taxi drivers. Why MP Seng who represents the citizens does not help taxi drivers and commuters by demanding that taxi companies lower taxi rentals so that fares can be lowered? The answer is clear. If taxi drivers are allowed to own their taxis, their work ethics will be undermined, they can cover their cost by driving fewer hours, it will make them lazy. ..this is definitely not good for them. Taxi companies that profitting is desirable..... remember Singapore is Singapore Inc, more profits is always better than less profits.

Here are the new taxi rates for your appreciation:
Current Rate.................................. New Rate
City Area Surcharge $1 peak hour ------------------- $3.00 (5pm till midnight, Mon to Sat)
Late Night Charge staggered 10% to 50% ----- 50% of metered fare (12am till 5:59am)
Peak Period Surcharge $2.00 -------------------35% of metered fare (7am till 9:30am, 5pm till 8pm)
Flagged Down Fare $2.50 for first km ----------$2.80 for first km
Waiting time $0.10 every 25s -- ---------------- $0.20 every 45s Distance Rate (<=10km)

$0.10 every 210 m --------------------------------$0.20 every 385m from 2nd km till 10km
Distance Rate (>10km) $0.10 every 175 m ---$0.20 every 330m above 10km
Call Booking (prime time) $4.00 ----------------$3.50 (7am to 9:30am, 5pm to 11pm , weekdays)
Call Booking (other time) $2.50 -----------------$2.50


batman said...

Another hard hitting piece of journalism Lucky!

From 2003-2006, the profit almost double even though GST increased.

I have 1 question: Who owns ComfortDelGro?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps when taking a taxi becomes a luxury, we have also to consider how much more they are going to raise the MRT and bus fares, considering that the circle line is coming into operation. That's also one of the reasons they have to increase taxi fares otherwise they will again argue that taking a taxi is not much more expensive than taking the MRT & bus for a party of three or four.

Anonymous said...

Wherever there is lucrative business you will see the stamp of PAP.

ComfortDelGro was formerly NTUC Comfort. See LINK

"Merger of Comfort Group Ltd and DelGro Corporation Limited to form ComfortDelGro"

Of course, it goes without saying PAP also puts its people in this company.

It is how PAP keeps its empire strong. It is not just PAP that rules Singapore; through its GLCs PAP rules by another circle of top people running often monopolistic businesses like transport companies, scooping up big money from the ordinary guy who struggles with a meagre pay of as low as $1200 for a Poly graduate.

Anonymous said...

Just expect that fare hikes for buses/mrt at the next round may make you 'vomit blood' and even die of heart attacks!

Anonymous said...

I just cannot understand why we cannot cut BOOKING FEE for cabs? In many developed countries, there is no hailing of cabs! Period. You call the nearest cabbie will pick your fare from where you are. Look - it saves him driving around/fuel and you spend your mobile charges to call him. This is more efficient. Everywhwere is then a cab stand and we don't need this stupid cab stands. They solve everything by increasing fares and surcharges!!! Arrrrggghhhhhhh

Anonymous said...

polls are so funny. they make it sounds like everybody can't wait NOT to truth is, there is nothing to look forward to except work and nothing but dreary work for most people here. the more they 'up our living standard', the costs of living inevitable goes up and the relentless pressure will continue on the people's pockets.

however, work can be fruitful and meaningful. that i do not dispute. but i think they won't dare take a poll on how many are actually happy with their work and PAY( very important here).

sure, they can build nice 'palaces' to impress others. but you need a lot of low paying servants and concubines to upkeep it.

the few who get paid millions will obviously be happy in their 'palace'.

but if you are paid anything under 5k a month, be prepared to toil to keep the 'palace' looking good.

for these, they can't be freed to WORK as they please. they have to continue to be servants to the 'palace' to stay alive.

the kind of work done will determine true happiness or psyched happiness. and if you can't retire and WORK( forced to work), you can't possibly by happy - at least for most.

and if the country men are not happy with the state of affairs here, they have failed to build a NATION let alone home!

Anonymous said...

correction: and if you can't retire and WORK( this kind of work makes you happy. it is the kind of work that you can choose to do and not to do after you have earned the right TO RETIRE. but if you can't retire,you may have no choice but be forced to work unhappily), you can't possibly by happy - at least for most.

that is the great difference between work and work!

Capt_Canuck said...

Smelly armpits? are you kidding. I love riding the MRT here in Singapore. I mean, in Canada the MRT system was so open spaced that you could not get on and have your elbow brush up against a woman's breast, or your hand brush a woman's butt, and just say "excuse me, kind of full in here huh?" and get away with it. In Singapore, I can brush up against as many ladies as I like and not get slapped, or arrested for 'insulting a womans modesty'. Thank you PAP for jam packing the MRT lines.

LuckySingaporean said...


Are you sure your singapore gf is okay with all that brushing?

Someone recently suggested we do what the japs do, have women only carriages and pack our trains like they do in japan. Another guy wrote back - the japanese can only pack their trains tigher because they have better hygiene i.e. armpits there smell better.

....some women I rather not brush.

Capt_Canuck said...

Lucky...Actually, she is my Singaporean wife, and what can she do? I mean, not like I am standing in a wide open spacious train with lots of room. The MRT is packed with people because prices go up and the gov't doesnt have money to make either more trains run or solve the problem with public transportation. That is why I say "God bless the PAP for packing the trains".

yamizi said...


Probably there will be one day to come when walking is the only way of transport that saves money.

Hmm...maybe we need to carry IU with us so that can charge to our cashcards when we walk into CBD?

Anonymous said...

Do yourself a favor, stop complaining the packed MRT train. The same solution might be introduced to solve the same issue...

The operator need us to pay more to increase the trains and frequency of trains arrival.

Uncle Gweilo said...

Something I wish to state upfront: I’m not a Singaporean and have only read the articles that have been hyperlinked on blogs such as this by way of knowledge of this issue- my experiences in Singapore being somewhat out of date (I also take the MRT and walk, for the most part, when I am there as a tourist).

Firstly, it’s a pity that there isn’t a well developed network of outlets selling Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LGP) in Singapore. Most of the taxis in major centres in Australia run on LPG as opposed to petrol or diesel- and it is a fairly simple conversion on a petrol-engine car. Petrol prices in Australia fluctuate due to market forces on a roughly weekly or fortnightly cycle, but it is around AUD 1.45 ( SGD 1.85) a litre, but LPG is around AUD 0.60 ( SGD 0.76) at the current time. Consumption, however, is about 30% higher for LPG over petrol in terms of the number of litres used to cover a specified distance. This noted; the cost of running a car on LPG is about 55% of that for petrol. Given that an average taxi in Sydney will cover of the order of 180,000 to 200,000+ Km per year, the AUD 2,000 cost of retro-fitting the tank (or the cost of a dedicated vehicle over a standard petrol-powered vehicle of the same model) is recovered in fairly short order. Service and maintenance of LPG-powered vehicles is not much more than that of a petrol-powered vehicle.

Also, retro-fitting a tank into a Toyota Crown that is the principle model used as taxis in Singapore, from my memory, will take up half of the usable boot space of the vehicle. While not a problem moving mainly passengers with some shopping bags around the city and residents around the island, it will prove a major problem to transporting passengers with suitcases and other luggage coming from, or going to, Changi Airport. A solution to that would be for the taxi companies to convert something like a Toyota Hiace into a taxi or import either a London cab style vehicle or a large Australian passenger car for primary airport use.

A point that I have not noticed any major focus being made in the linked article is on multi-hire of taxis. This has proved a contentious issue in the past in Australia as there is a great potential for drivers to exploit the regulations concerning the issue. Multi-hiring may be restricted to certain times- late at night and during “crash” procedures when there are simply not enough taxis on the road. Can someone please list the rules governing the multiple hiring of a taxi in Singapore?

Otherwise, let me illustrate two possible scenarios to make a more efficient use of taxi resources. Destinations, distances, and fares are for illustration purposes only. Imagine that two couples, who do not know each other, meet on a rank waiting for a taxi after eating dinner in the same area (e.g. Newton Circus). The first couple live a distance that equates to a $10 fare (Namly Estate or Sixth Avenue?), and the second couple are a $25 fare from the pick-up point (Jurong?). Both couples agree to share a taxi. Dropping the first couple off will require a detour off the quickest route to the second couple’s destination, and the final fare will now be $30. The two possible scenarios for payment are as follows:
• The first benefits the passengers who get out last. The first couple pays the second couple the cost of their portion of the fare, which gives the second couple a reduction in their fare of $5- which will compensate them for having to divert from their quickest route home. The taxi driver will also benefit to an extent by making an extra $5 on what is basically a single fare to take the second couple home.
• The second benefits both couples. The first couple pay 75% of the metered fare for their portion of the journey ($7.50) to the taxi driver. The second couple pay 75% of the total metered fare to ($22.50) the driver. Both passengers have made a saving on what they would have paid being the only fare in the taxi, and the taxi driver still makes $30 for the one fare.

The second option of passengers paying 75% of the metered fare will work even more in the driver’s favour if there are three passengers in the one taxi. Three passengers, for example, going from Newton Circus to Sixth Avenue ($10- driver gets $7.50), Choa Chu Kang (normally $25, but is $30 with the diversion- driver gets another $22.50 at this point), then finally to Woodlands (normally $35, but is now $45 with two diversions- driver gets another $33.75 at this point). Three fares, one taxi. Driver makes $65.75 (hence the appeal for drivers to abuse this system!)

Interested to read what anyone else thinks of this.