theonlinecitizen

a community of singaporeans

83% Hike in Taxi Fares not Comforting at all

Posted by theonlinecitizen on December 12, 2007

By Gerald Giam

The newspaper, TODAY, carried this report in its August 14, 2007, issue:

“For the half-year ended June 30, 2007, ComfortDelGro achieved an
8.6-per-cent increase in revenue to about $1.5 billion. Net profit rose
10.5 per cent to $113.9 million.”
(Click here and here)

Comfort Delgro is the parent company which also runs SBS Transit, besides their fleet of taxis.

83 per cent.

Yes that’s how much more I calculated it would cost to take a cab from my mother-in-law’s place in Tiong Bahru to my home in Sembawang.

I am shocked by the magnitude of ComfortDelGro’s taxi fare hike this time. It’s one thing to increase the flag down rate and peak period surcharges, but to double the meter hop to 20 cents is plain profiteering.

ComfortDelGro earned almost $2.8 billion last year, with profits of over $300 million. Instead of sharing more of their profits with their drivers, they are upping their fares and trying to justify it by pointing to the plight of their drivers. I have no objection to cabbies earning a little more, but I’ll advise all the “uncles” to make hay while the sun shines. In no time, your rentals are going to also increase and your fuel subsidies reduced or removed.

The government has since 1998 deregulated taxi fares. This means that taxi companies are free to set whatever fares they like without seeking permission from the Public Transport Council. But deregulation only works well if there is fair competition. With 65 per cent of the taxis in Singapore, ComfortDelGro is as good as a monopoly. And it has played out time and again that whenever Comfort raises fares, the rest of the taxi companies follow suit. So much for competition.

The Taxi Operators’ Association, which called Comfort’s revision “fair and timely”, has also urged other taxi operators to adjust their taxi fares “as soon as possible”. I’m no expert in competition law, but doesn’t this smell like cartel behaviour?

The government always points out that taxis are a form of private transport and there are alternatives, like taking a bus or MRT.

Tell that to the pregnant mum who never gets a seat on the train because everyone is “sleeping”.

Tell that to the disabled man who doesn’t have a wheelchair friendly bus plying his route to work.

Tell that to the family who has to transport their sick grandmother to hospital for treatment several times a week.

I have always thought that taking cabs are still cheaper than owning a car. I haven’t done my sums yet, but maybe now it would be cheaper to buy a car to clog up our roads and pollute our air more.

Read Mr Brown’s take on the increase here: “Complain about taxi somemore?” 

Read also: “ComfortDelgro’s profits rise” by theonlinecitizen.

And: “Public transport: Uniquely Singapore, F1 or F9?” by Leong Sze Hian.

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13 Responses to “83% Hike in Taxi Fares not Comforting at all”

  1. LifesLikeThat said

    Somebody should really lead a public protest against this sort of blatant daylight robbery by the government!

    It’s f*cking … arrghhh! I have no words to use to describe my nausea!!!

  2. Ned Stark said

    “Tell that to the pregnant mum who never gets a seat on the train because everyone is “sleeping”.

    Tell that to the disabled man who doesn’t have a wheelchair friendly bus plying his route to work.”

    and then the powers that be will say its our fault that such things occur. Regretable but likely. Actually i still think owning a car is more expensive. But i would rather prefer to own a cheap car then be forced to my knees by these companies. At least i dont have to be held hostage by disappearing drivers and be squashed like a pan cake:P

  3. saintmoron said

    In Singapore, one may indeed be responsible to oneself for getting pregnant, losing ones’ limb, not capable of earning enough to cope with the ever rising costs of livings. And the greatest blame will be ‘why can,t you get out of here? You whinners!

  4. mr.udders said

    Come on then, let’s march.

  5. Gary Teoh said

    Dr Chee Soon Juan should protest by leading hundreds of Singaporeans marching to Istana and show the government we can’t tolerate any more.School bus fare also going to increase next month,how the hell we can listen to government by producing 2 or more children,better import FT to fill the gap, that is their policy.Comfort Delgro really sucks our blood, they can pay Lim Boon Heng million dollar salary,but they can’t reduce taxi rental fee,what a joke !!!!

  6. Daniel Ho said

    Perhaps we should set up a charity foundation to aid those who “have” to take taxies and are poor. Like the disabled, the aged, and the very pregnant.

  7. Yip said

    I can understand the fare being raised for the benefits of the Taxi-Drivers, this is due to the higher fuel cost. However I do hope the increase of fare, thereby increase of income of Taxi-Drivers, will not be used as an excuse to jack up the vehicle rental when economy is “better”.

  8. Yip said

    In my humble opinion, a better solution to the taxi problem is to simply lower the rentals of the vehicles. This will help the Taxi-drivers to offset the higher fuel cost, and will not cause commuters to shun away from taxi due to higher cost.

  9. khirsah said

    I hope one, at least one, taxi co. will remain steadfast and just for once look at social responsibility and not increase fare. If everyone else follow ComfortDelgro, what competition are we talking about?

  10. EC said

    Don’t complain.

    Just don’t take taxi unless it’s really necessary.

    Travel less and avoid the discretionary extras.

    By changing your spending and travel habits, it can significantly affect their bottomline…

  11. blood sucker said

    start telling yr family, friend, relative, colleague to stop taking taxi and hurt their bottomline. i have started doing that. must have more people doing it then these bloodsuckers will stop.

  12. Gerald said

    A reader on my blog, yonanz, pointed out an error in my “meter hop” amount. According to ComfortDelGro, the fare increase is as follows:

    Current:
    Flag Down: $2.50 for 1st km*
    1km to 10km: $0.1 for every 210m
    Above 10km: $0.1 for every 175m
    Waiting time: $0.1 for every 25sec

    Revised:
    Flag Down: $2.80 for 1st km*
    1km to 10km: $0.2 for every 385m
    Above 10km: $0.2 for every 330m
    Waiting time: $0.2 for every 45sec

    I stand corrected. I based my blog post on the TODAY report (Dec 11), which simply reported, “Every subsequent distance/time step: 20 cents (Currently: 10 cents)”.

    So thankfully I think the fare increase for me may not hit 83%, but I’m sure it won’t be just a 10% increase, like Comfort has assured us.

  13. goh said

    hope that singaporean stop taking taxi for 6 months so that these taxi company feel the pain of losing ill gotten revenue & know that the consumer are damn bloody angry with them. then more taxi driver will leave and force them to lower taxi rental price & taxi fare. it’s time these bloody taxi company shares the burden of fuel price hike. let’s start by telling it to our family & friend and get them to also spread the news to others that they know. inhuman money making company !!!

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