Soon, The Taxi Academy at Redhill Road will stop accepting students for their taxi vocational license course due to overwhelming response! And taxi operators like SMRT & COMFORT will have no taxis for leasing out to prospective taxi drivers!. Their garages are empty of taxis.And of course, taxi rental will be going up too and soon!!.
Seriously, in my opinion, The Sunday Times had misled the general public by sensationalizing the news based on just two cabbies' earnings, whereas in Singapore we have about 60,000 active cabbies on the road. The only imaginable deed they had done for cabbies is accidentally raising the social status of cabbies, whom most people hold in disgust when they can't get a cab.
Now, if the reporters of the news article had been more"investigative & responsible" in their reporting, they should have verify with taxi operators, like ComfortDelgro, on the average earning of a cabby, based on a large number of respondents. There was no mention whatsoever of an average cabby earning in their news reports. Instead, they chose to sensationalize the stories of the two exceptional cabbies and highlighted their amazing earning abilities. Only tabloids in Hong Kong does such highly irresponsible and sloppy news reporting. I would consider this news reporting as tabloid fodders.
The news reports had given the public the wrong impression that taxi driving is an easy cum lucrative business and an ideal career choice with lots of interesting adventures.
Worst, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will soon be scrutinizing every cabby's income tax declaration for the last five years.
Imagine, if a cabby under declares that he earns only $2,500/month (instead of $7,000/month), IRA would have missed collecting millions dollars of revenue from cabbies in the last 5 years. Instead of paying Zero income tax, a cabby should have paid $2,790 income tax per year, based on an $84,000 annual income. Multiply $2,790 for 5 years, the amount is $13,950 per cabby. And multiply that with only 10,000 cabbies. The amount is $140 millions, enough for another over expenditure at the next Youth Olympic. Do you think the IRAS will keep an eye closed when they realized that they had missed that astronomical amount of revenue?.
Remember how IRAS had gone after some popular hawkers stalls and fined them hundreds of thousands of dollars for failing to pay income taxes!. So, that two "Smart Alexs" and The Sunday Times had done IRAS a great service. And my buddies are now awaiting a notice from IRAS in the not too distant future. I better start saving now for income tax payment!
I think The Sunday Times news reports also contained lots of half truths and unsustainable facts. Let me explain from my perspective, knowledge and experience as a cabby for the last seven years.
1. If that cabby - Mr. M. H. Hashim, 32, drives for only 8 hours and take home nett $200 per day after paying his $50 fuel and $100 rental, it means that he collects $43.75 per hour or $0.73 per minute. At that rate, he is occupied on the road with a paying passenger every minute of the 8 hours, with no waiting at taxi stands, airports or anywhere. Is that possible?. I'm sure you have seen long taxi queue at shopping malls, airports and empty taxis cruising around with no passengers. But Mr. M.H. Hashim is occupied in all the 8 hours with a paying passengers! How preposterous and incredible!
2. From my experience, on a very good day, like Friday or Saturday nights, when driving for 8 hours a night, I collect about $30 an hours or $240 per shift. So after paying $30 for fuel and $52 for rental, I take home about $158. On other not-so-good days, I take home about $90 per shift. In a month of 25 days, my income is about $3,000. The day shift driver earns about 20% less at $2,400 because there is less surcharges. Even, if a driver drives two shifts of 16 hours, he gets about $5,400 per month (not $7,000). But can a single person drives 16 hours a day without breaks for 25 days a month? It means, he is left with only 8 hours a day to eat, shit and sleep! Impossible, unless he is a robot. So, either Mr. M.H. Hashim had boasted, exaggerated or lied and The Sunday Time had irresponsibly reported it.
3. Taxi driving is a very competitive business with about 20,000 taxis on the road most of the time. If you line all of them in a straight row, they stretch from Woodland Checkpoint to Marina Bay Sand casino, a distance of at least 50 kilometers!
Passengers are not always around for us to pick at will. Often, we cruise around empty with no passengers in sight or race against each other to get the few available. Of course, most taxi drivers know where the busy spots are and because of this fact, there is always a long taxi queue at these popular spots, like the airport, Orchard Tower, casinos, disco, etc.etc.
No one taxi driver is smarter than the other. In reality, our earning often depends on our luck, not just time spend on the road. During a heavy downpour, with most roads clotted with traffic jams and few commuters, many taxi drivers takes a "safety break", which also mean time lost. I think it's wiser to sit out the rain than to hunt for a fair with higher risks of accidents.
After mid-night on poor days, I get about ten empty taxis surrounding me at traffic light junction, each racing off for nothing.
4. Eight out of ten taxi drivers are not healthy. Most had all kinds of health problems, like kidney, heart, stomach, bowels diseases. I have several friends who quit driving because of health and other problems, like assaults, fair cheats, traffic fines and the inevitable traffic accidents. Like some jobs, taxi drivers trade their life on the hazardous road for a living. We're on our own with no social safety nets and the fittest survives, exactly what LKY encourages.
Now, coming back to that $7,000 a month cabby - 32 years old Mr. M. H. Hasim. If he saves about $3,000 a month from his lucrative $7.000 income, he will become a millionaire at 55 years old after 25 years of driving a cab. So, if you're 30 years old now, quit your job and follow Mr. M. H. Hasim to become a millionaire cabby. Don't wait. Join the Millionaire Club.
|$7,000 per month Cabby - Mr. M.H.Hasim|
1. Read more of the $7,000/month cabby at this link http://dotseng.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/the-fairy-tale-of-the-7000-per-month-singaporean-taxi-driver