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12/07/2011

Taxi fare hike hots up

It is unusual for a small fare hike to generate so much heat. When comparing to the fares in big cities like New York or London or Paris, or Tokyo, the taxi fares here are too cheap. It can go up another few notches to be in the league with the big cities. We are now the 6th most expensive cities in Asia which is still too far to claim the top position. We need to work harder to be at the top.

So what is all the hooha about the taxi fare hike? Cost of living has gone up, property prices, car prices, diesel prices, and the taxi drivers need to get some pay increases as well. When people earning millions of dollars are not satisfied and wanting more increases, it is only natural that the taxi drivers should want to earn more as well. They may not be thinking of another private property or upgrading to private properties, but the cost of a public flat is no longer that cheap anymore, but of course mah, still affordable.

Let’s not begrudge the taxi drivers from wanting to earn more income to support their families. But the way they went about it may cause some concern. The Competition Commission of Singapore has raised its sensors when ComfortDelgro opening called for other taxi operators to join in the fare hike. It is lucky that they made it an open call for fare increase. If they have done it quietly, it will become price collusion or price fixing. An open call is not price collusion or price fixing. They are safe and not violating any laws.

Some taxi operators are itching under the pants. Who would not want to raise the fare and bring more money home? It will be very tough for any operator not do follow suit.

Would it be too much to ask for to expect a few operators to hold their fares and refuse to join the hike? Actually it will be a big boost for all the operators not to go along and the passengers would have an easy choice to make when calling for taxis. They could all boycott, okay boycott is not a good word to use, they could all call for other taxis except those from ComfortDelgro. In this way, they need not pay more while the other taxi operators will enjoy at least a doubling of income when the demand for their cabs goes up immediately.

We have never seen such competition in practice in a free market situation. With limited number of operators, it is difficult to prevent collusion or monopoly of fare prices. This current fare hike is a great opportunity for the taxi industry to try to do what is best for them and their customers and allow free market forces to be in play. Alternative political parties may want to chip in to support a system where the fare structure is different for different operators. Nevermind the argument that everyone must follow the same system and structure so as not to confuse customers.

At this point in time, the customers are used to the present system and announcing that they will stick to the present system will not confuse anyone. The only customers that will be confused will be those taking ComfortDelgro and faced with the new system.

The ball is now in the court of the smaller taxi operators. They could go it on their own and claim a bigger market share. This time the market share will be big without them having to do anything. I say, give the customers a chance to have different fare structure and different fares.

Be loyal to your customers and think of their interests and their pockets.
By not hiking their fares, their income will still go up if the loyal customers and new customers choose not to call ComfortDelgro cabs. But the price is that they would be working harder as the demand will definitely be very high. I will definitely go for the other operators when there is a choice.

It's business and fair competition in practice. Go for it man, get your market share and a bigger piece of the pie, and win more goodwill from the grateful customers. The customers will definitely remember and reward the taxi operators for not hiking fares at a time like this.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uncle
Dun use drivers income to justify fare increase.Those that I know rarely complain except to say they work extra hours for more income.
Many are satisfied.Some even can play mahjong,drink kopi and gossip after they cover back their rental and make some income.
Can also make false claim ,drive 4 hours,bring back a china meimei to hotel after that to sleep till morning.Dun look down on their pay.
I want to be a cabby leow.

Anonymous said...

why shouldn't we boycott the taxis? years ago, when the taxi companies raised their fares, singaporeans boycotted them.

two days after the higher fares had started, they were lowered again.

at that time though the trains and buses were not as packed as they are now.

btw, in all other countries where taking a cab costs more, cars are MUCH cheaper than in singapore.

Anonymous said...

This time boycotting is very easy as only ComfortDelgro is raising the fares. Maybe one or two others will follow. Hopefully the rest don't follow.

Hum Yee Fan Sang said...

http://humyeefansang.blogspot.com/2011/12/singapore-taxi-is-more-fucked-up-than.html

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

hi Hum Yee Fan Sang, welcome to the blog.

I think we are in a competition to be the most expensive country in Asia. And if everything is so expensive and so many foreigners still happy to be here, it only proves that we are the most desirable place to be in.

I would like to suggest that the quality of service of taxi drivers be upgraded. Provide them with a course and make them more professional. The money well spent.

agongkia said...

Aiya Uncle Besn,
You another one kaykiang.
What kind of quality service are you expecting?What course?WSQ again?
Like budget air,send me to my destination safely and that's it.I am not asking for free meals or towel and I am pretty comfortable with those married cabin crews.

Same goes to taxi.Whether he is an Ah Pek,or Lao Gor,so long as they can send you there safely,dun expect the unnecessary.
Looks like we should have Budget Taxi.Why not?

Matilah_Singapura said...

I am all for voluntary market action to (self) regulate an industry when current standards simply do not justify price hikes.

The problem for taxis is that it is a govt-controlled cartel -- there is no free competition, like the good old day when "pirate" taxis were common place.

I am all for opening up the market to allow private car owners to charge for passengers -- with very LIGHT regulation -- e.g. insurance, roadworthiness, sobriety (sober driver). Each fare negotiated or by meter...up to parties to agree.

Then you have competition for the cabbies.

Anonymous said...

Heard Comfortdelgo will use the money from fare increasing to equip each of their taxi with an iPad for the customer to use.

Anonymous said...

If a government is unaccountable and opaque, there is nothing much you can do now. There is only one thing you can do in GE2016, that is, to vote them out and change the whole system. Will daft Singaporeans dare to vote wisely this time? I doubt given the characteristics of daft Singish.

Anonymous said...

Don't just vote change in GE 2016.

Persuade a friend, relative, brother, sister to join you too.

Change can only happen, one vote at a time.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

As our country progresses towards the first world, we must change our perception of the quality of life. Old ways would not do. You want to eat in hawker centre, food court or restaurant? Come again!

I now want to ask, you want ah peh driver who blur like sotong, or you want nice mei mei to drive you around, or you want graduates who can discuss politics and philosophy when they drive you around?

In short, you want a driver, personal assistant or a conceirge to drive you around? If you want better service, then you need to send them for training and be prepared to pay more. Quality mah.

But I don't mind the idea of pirate taxis. And with the prices of cars so expensive, maybe it is a good thing to allow car owners to be pirate taxi drivers to defray the cost of car ownership. And the problem of shortage of taxis will be gone with more taxis on the road. KNN nobody think about the interests of the customers. Make them wait like donkeys in the taxi stand also can.

Then I also can moonlight, but my service will be better than the conceirges for sure. And I don't have to park my car in the car park everyday.

agongkia said...

Wah Uncle Bean
You now talk like Bully Kitchy leh.
You need and have high salary doesn't mean other people must be greedy and kaya like you.
Ah Peh cabby earn less but got dignity.He dun suka suka charge you just to get what he want.Give these Ah Peh a chance to earn a proper living.
Who dare say they blur like sotong?Tell them go Geylang ,Koon Chio Kar,Or Sai or See Pai Por ,they can reach faster than the young driver or even graduate as they know the road better.Lau Cheow mah.

Mei Mei is good but they usually lack experience on the road.May tend to gossip with me and thus my safety is compromise.
Graduates who drive taxi and keep complaining will only affect my mood.Who ask them to study so much?
Garmen never guarantee graduate dun end up driving taxi.Must be contented having a taxi to drive.Luckily not Tar Sai(ask patriot whats that).
I just want a small taxi(why force commuter to take big taxi?),no air con never mind.Reach safely and can save some money for my meal.
No need big taxi.marceelee,air con,graduates,meimei,training certificate ,courses etc that end up me paying for the unnecessary expenses.
Have Par Ong Chia or private Taxi.Call it BudgetTaxi.Thats the way.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Oh dear, I think I got carried away. For a moment I was dreaming and talking like a super talent. Pai seh.

Who wants better services, ki chiu!

Anonymous said...

Mr Chua Chin Leng please don't compare the taxi fares of New York or London or Paris, or Tokyo. Taxi fare increases is good for the Singapore Night Shift drivers only.
We Day shift drivers will will will have a decrease income.
Please check the Timetable of the New Taxi Fares for 12th Dec2011.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

I know, comparing with NY, London and Paris are selective comparison for those who wanted to make ridiculous arguments in their favour.

I hope your income will really increase. Two undesirable outcomes may happen. One, some taxi operators would not raise their fares and you will have an immediate boycott unofficially as commuters seek to take cheaper taxis.

The other event that is akan datang is that with the miserable few dollars increase daily, it will not last when they throw in a few increases to your rentals etc etc.

Two groups of people will suffer eventually. The commuters and taxi drivers.

Anonymous said...

looks like increasing the taxi drivers income to increase other people's income. net net, taxi drivers got nothing but crumbs.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Talk nonsense lah.

In this world you get what you are worth.

i. e. If you want to earn more, make what you do WORTH more.

Anonymous said...

really? don't be so naive.

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