Saturday, January 05, 2008

Are you sure you want to take TAXI?!!!

I'm proud to say that I've been able to break my taxi taking habit by sleeping earlier and getting up earlier to take the MRT. Although they are packed like sardine cans, I found out that the back of the train is emptier so I don't have to smell someone else's armpits.
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The taxi companies believe that within 2 months people like me will get withdrawal symptoms and go back to taking taxis. After that they will proceed with the usual rental increase & diesel subsidy reduction to give their bottomline a big boost. Right now there is a 31% reduction in peak hour business. Taxi drivers believe they have nothing to gain from this hike, all their gains will be eaten by the taxi companies.
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You ever wondered why taxi drivers are not allowed own their own taxis? Why is there a middleman who live off the labor of the taxi driver that does all the work? Why not a "not-for-profit" cooperative that can better take care of the interest of taxi drivers & commuters in place of this middleman? There are many taxi cooperatives around the world and they work well.
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This is again about profits. Just like Singapore Power which can raise tariffs to accumulate enough to invest in Australia while Singaporeans struggle to pay for their utlities. Taxi drivers in Singapore drive more than half a day just to make the rent they pay to the taxi companies.
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To stop price increases is very simple - just don't accept them. See the taxi companies know the behavior pattern of Singaporeans very well, they whine alot about "all those unfair hikes" then they proceed to pay for them. However, the taxi fare hike which came after so many other hikes appear to be straw that broke the camel's back. The US economy is slowing sharply and already some parts of our economy have slowed to a crawl (just talk to the people in the electronics sector).
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If I can break my 7-yr habit of taking taxi almost every morning to work, I'm sure the rest of the country can also do it and find somethng more worthwhile to do with their money.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

with people population going up to 6 millions and even more to say 20 millions in the future, resulted from continual influx of even greater numbers of foreigners, most of them probably are going to be wealthier and loaded with cash, the taxi fare hike is inevitable and more hikes will come in the future.

in the long run, taking a taxi is not for the poor locals, as it is meant to serve the riches.

a simple case is the property development, young local families can no longer afford to comfortably buy houses in prime locations. the govt is going to move the masses to the outskirts in areas like punggol, jurong by building more hdb flats in there while the riches and foreigners will stay in the prime locations.

Jolly Jester said...

Cooperatives... wasn't Comfort originally a cooperative?

Anonymous said...

Lucky hits the nail on the head when he wondered why there is " not a "not-for-profit" cooperative that can better take care of the interest of taxi drivers & commuters in place of this middleman? "

We used to have such a not-for-profit co-op champion in another line : the great NTUC FairPrice, which was of course an arm of NTUC that also owns ComfortDelGro, the taxi company.

NTUC FairPrice started as a cooperative to control the profiteering of essential goods in the late 60's. It was the people's champion.

In those days provision shops were delivering inferior grade rice to consumers for premium prices. They would display top grade rice at their shops and when customers order some, they would be given the lousy types.

NTUC FairPrice took action by getting into the rice business and stop all that profiteering and cheating in their tracks.

Over the years look how NTUC FairPrice from being a champion of the people's interest has transformed itself into a monopolist and profiteer. The police has now become the thief, so to speak.

To start with, NTUC FairPrice has all along been given the prime locations by PAP. After all it is supposed to be the people's or worker's champion, a not-for-profit co-op, is it not?

But look at the prices of its goods, especially vegetables and fruits. In many instances they far more expensive than those at neighbourhood minimarts or other supermarts.

Of course when it comes to goods with its own house brand, they are always much cheaper than those from other suppliers.

Surely this is harming fair competitor and is a business practice that is quite controversial considering that NTUC FairPrice is a supermart and not a manufacturer or wholesaler of such goods.

Now we come to ComfortDelGro which is also an arm of NTUC. It seems to be the chief protagonist of taxi far hikes.

Apart from the current ones, one taxi driver told me that in the past NTUC Comfort (now ComfortDelGro) was the only taxi company that collected a commission (of 30%) on booking fees from taxi drivers. Subsequently other taxi companies follow suit.

By such questionable industry leadership, the whole taxi business in Singapore has been fixed by PAP.

We talk of ComfortDelGro and NTUC FairPrice but really we are talking about PAP, how from a champion it became an exploiter of the masses, going into every kind of business, monopolizing and fixing their prices.

And NTUC is only one of PAP's tentacles. There are numerous other kinds of businesses that PAP has moved into and monopolised or strongly established and then lead by lousy example.

But I will leave that to other more informed users to address.

Anonymous said...

what it means is that as wages can't meet constant demand from producers of goods and services, purchases will become more selective and narrow. that will play into the hands of the monopolies who are position to take the biggest chunk off the pie leaving mostly crumbs behind. but apart from growing its obvious investment arms - in the name of survivor - the sinister ploy is in the command and control.

you can't buy and sell without conforming to its hypocritical values your children and the children after them will be..ahem ...proud of.

appreciate the insight.

Anonymous said...

ComfortDelgro is the result of a merger between Comfort Group (NTUC Comfort) and DelGro Corporation.

The former belonged to NTUC. What about DelGro?

This page provides the information.

Its top executives Wong Hung Khim and Phua Tin How are mentioned at this Singapore Window site as top PAP men, political secretaries.. Many such political secretaries as well as MPs take double incomes by the millions of dollars annualy through such an arrangement.

How can they not be super loyal to their boss?

This is the real Singapore Inc that PAP talks about. It reads PAP all the way.

The PAP people own the real estate; ordinary citizens get to keep the crumbs, if at all.

yamizi said...

Lucky,

Minus off the (unfortunate need to) change some spoilt part of my motorcycle, the monthly maintainance including ERP is actually cheaper than taking public transport. Another plus point is time-saving but the disadvantage is definitely taking the rain.

But not so for car.

Our public transport not that public also I think, considering the fares and service standard.

Cry Freedom said...

Bravo, we many more Singaporeans will follow your example. After all, did the minister not promote the use of public transportation like the MRT? Besides, since taxis are no longer covered by the PTC, they are not longer public transport. More like the hirelings of a mafia.

Ling said...

Wow, Lucky, you are my inspiration! I've been taking taxi to work almost every morning for about 5-6 years. It's really hard to break the habit now, but your example has inspired me to try harder!!!

One thing though, I guess the taxi companies (especially ComfortDelGro) are so confident that we'll go back to taking taxis because the bus and MRT fare hikes are probably next in store, for peasants like us who think we can save $ by taking the bus and MRT instead of taxis. If the authorities raise the fares high enough, people may go back to taking taxis since they don't want to pay so much to be squeezed in a mobile sardine can to and from work.

But until then, your example is still my inspiration for breaking the taxi-taking habit! Bravo!!!

Anonymous said...

Lucky,

talking about Singapore Power incrasing tariffs, Reuters just reported that Temasek is going to sell of Tuas power plant.

there are currently 9 bidders to the $2billion plant.

Wonder what will happen next - when public utilities start to be privately-owned by a foreign company? Keppel Power announced that they are not keen to buy Tuas.

There's pros and cons of course, of private/foreign ownership. But private ownership of public utilities? Wonder whats in place for the new owners not to exploit Singaporeans?

Anonymous said...

Just say no to Taxi. $10 per trip (minimum now from outskirt to city) is equal to 3-4 days of lunch (at $2.50 per meal).

Sometimes I wonder why the foreigners can live in prime area where we take the crumbs (if any, like a few thousands people apply for like hundred units in any hdb balloting).

Isn't this suppose to be our country? Isn't we suppose to steer the country instead of the other round? Its really uniquely Singapore, cities of possibilities. Try doing that in our neighbour country (where giving foreigner more privilege than locals) and see how the people will rise up and kao bei.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter if it's private or public ownership of the power plant. Our highly efficient MIW will put in a board like the PTC to ensure that interest are protected. Even if the company wants to offer a service at a lower cost they will not be allowed too. Now that's protecting the interest, of whom I leave to you to decide. Singapore bodoh!

Anonymous said...

Someone should archive all that is happening since May last year. Since it has been proven in the past 43 years that we have only a memory span of about 3 to 4 years and that we then to forget everything the minute a few hundred dollars is shoved into our face. It would be good the have a refresher of what we have been made to endure in the years preceding the polls and that if the compensation (bribery is not a good word)being offred is sufficient to place your trust in the same people believing that they will not screw you again.

Anonymous said...

bleah!