Saturday 26 October 2013

Taxi Flagdown Rates Going Up with New Models.

It is almost a month since my last post. You might have wondered what has happened to me lately. Am I in good health, sick or lying in bed with a serious injury from traffic accident?. Your kind concern is understandable because my job as a cabby expose me constantly to many dangers on the road. There's almost a weekly news of traffic accidents involving taxi drivers. Fortunately, with God's grace, I'm Ok!.

Actually, it is not difficult to explain why I have not written as much as I did in the past. Apart from getting older, I'm not enjoying cab driving as much as I used to. I also noticed recently that I haven't been engaging in conversation with my passengers as much as I used to. I'm sure all are related. Maybe, I'm just been feeling tired and withdrawn.

However, if a friendly and talkative guy gets into my cab and engage me with the hottest issue of the day, like the current increase in flagdown cab fares, I'll throw my taciturn temperament out of my window. And this was exactly what happened few days ago when I picked up this youngish IT executive at Vivo City.

"Uncle, why your company keep increasing cab fares so often nowadays?

"My friend, my Sonata flagdown fare is still the same at $ increase. It's only our company's new Hyundai i40 that has gone up to $3.80. By the way, this new model i40 is introduced 6 years after the Sonata. So, flagdown fare increase is not often every few months. But the most drastic taxi fares increases was about two years ago when surcharges period were extended, distance meter rates and other related items were highly increased.

"Uncle, it seems to me that your company don't care about customer welfare at all"

"Young man, you're right. Not only our company don't care about customer welfare, they also don't care about taxi driver welfare.

"Uncle, how can you say that. The flagdown fare increases also benefits you, right?.

"No, the increased flagdown fare don't benefit me. In fact, I've to work harder and longer hours because I've to pay a higher rental for the new i40 at $126 per day instead of $100 for my old Sonota. My rental had gone up by 26% but the flagdown fare increased by only 16%. (from $3.20 to $3.80). Now I've to do at least 50 pickups to cover the extra $26 increased in rental on a 24 hours shift.

Our company feels justified to charge a higher rental because the newer model cost more. They don't care about the unhappy reaction from taxi commuters or suffering of taxi drivers. Now, many taxi commuter avoids taking i40 if other models of taxis are available. Do you know that taxi companies are like Food Court Operators (eg. Kopitiam & Food Republic). Once they renovate their premises, stall rental and food price increased correspondingly.. It's the consumers and hawkers who suffers.

On the other hand, the company makes more money introducing new models. As evidence, ComfortDelGro revealed in their 2012 financial report that in Singapore their revenue from taxi business was10.1% higher at $824 millions due to higher rental from a larger fleet and an increase in new replacement taxis. Taxi business form the single biggest income generator for ComfortDelGro.

Uncle, if you're not happy with your company, you could join other taxi companies like SMRT, Trans-Cabs, Premier etc.....

"My friend, it's easy to say. Don't you know that other taxi companies also introduced new models and increased their flagdown fares and rental too. For example.

SMRT's Toyota Priuses at $3.80

SMRT's Hyandai Azera at $3.80

Trans-Cab's Renault at $3.90

Trans-Cab's Epica at $3.60

Premier's Priuses at $3.50

Prime's Priuses at $3.60

"Aiyoh, looks like these taxi companies operate like a cartel. Why LTA is not doing anything about it?"

"On the surface, LTA's policy is "Bo Chap, or Mai Chap" (don't care or  don't get involves) because taxi companies are private business. Government don't get involve in setting prices of private companies' products or services except essential items or services. They let the market set the pricing

 In my opinion, the greatest handicap in the taxi industry is a lack of serious competition. COMFORT, the biggest taxi company in Singapore controls 60% of the market and is a GLC (Government Link Company). You don't need to be a rocket scientist to speculate whether they are bedding each other. 

"Uncle, what's your greatest grievances against your company?

Worst of all, all taxi companies do all they can to muster as large a fleet of taxis as possible and get every taxi rented out to drivers, regardless of the demand and competition on the street. As long as rentals are collected promptly, they do not care how the drivers survive".

"Wow, you talk so bad about your company. You're not scare to get sacked like blogger Gintai of SMRT? (Link)?

"So be it. If you lives in a forest, don't worry about no wood to start a fire"
Stay Cool. Don't Worry, Be Happy. Life is Short.

                    Porsche Boxster 987 Taxi in Bangkok - Thailand.
                    Flagdown Rate : S$50.00


Gintai_昇泰 said...

Interesting insight into your job. I'm still considering whether to join your line. You've asked few times before. Sad thing is taxis were not part of the master transport blueprint. They only care about trains and buses.

Anonymous said...

If your plan "A" does not work put, mind letting us know what some of the others are, the curse rental market is killing me.
I've stall on many ideals but came to nough, care to share your ideals.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...


Hahaha, Are you kidding?. The last image is just an inspirational pun on the alphabet, meant to be also a joke. If millionaire Minister can't solve the many taxis "problems", how can you expect me, an ordinary taxi drive to come out with solutions. Cheers!!

Unknown said...

Your service some what different to us.Thanks for sharing the information with us.
Melbourne Cab

Anonymous said...

Obviously the taxi companies are trying to recover increasing COEs through higher taxi rentals via the flagged down rates. It is saddening to know that they are doing it at the expense of taxi drivers' earnings.

The COEs is another form of Govt tax but the unfortunate thing is that taxi drivers are made to earn back this tax on behalf of taxi companies before they start making anything for themselves to put rice at the table. It is simply another form of modern slavery, largely driven by a GLC's greed for more income.

If public buses are exempted from COEs & even given rebates, then why are taxi companies not treated likewise ? At least there should be some form of rebates if they are also providing a public transport service.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with all this sidewinding blogs giving jokes at public expense, they exclaim without knowing the harsh reality of what some are in, MDA was right in closing in on you guys, one even got sack for his so call, "thoughts", of his, without thinking and even bringing the company that supported him into dismay and also causing homeless to suffer even more.

The word "Unity", is just a word in the dictionary, as usual sinkies can and never could unite, all words and more words, the whole bunch of you is sad, fakes.

Mariam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Victor Teo said...

I am a taxi driver myself.

The newer models use lesser fuel. And this helps taxi drivers to save more, thus earn more. But this only benefits those who drives 10-12 hours a day as the savings is more significant. Taxi drivers who drives lesser hours, especially those semi-retired (in their 60s) will feel the pinch from the newer models.

With the higher rental, we have to think twice before we decide to take a rest from our daily driving.

Anonymous said...

Was in a cab just now, both of us were thinking the same things and saying the same things, we droped off at greenridge, increase rental does not equal gain, the same 1 million eastern ft's, the same stupid gahmen who cares for themselves only...., nice to know you.....

Anonymous said...

In Australia, cabbies buy licences from the govt at a fixed price & then resell them at huge profits when they cannot work anymore. Here you'll be slaves throughout your life & work till you die. Pray & vote for kinder people to govern Singapore as your situation can easily be reversed with hundreds of dollars in reserves whose interest income or even land sales income can be diverted to help people in need...

Anonymous said...

I mean hundreds of billion dollars!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the useful information with us.When the new models comes according to that the rates will also increases.
Melbourne Taxi

Hands-On Green Matters said...

Fold A Heart ♥ 2013

WeNeed1ObamaHere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WeNeed1ObamaHere said...

The Cab companies are making off like bandits with this new fleet of new cab models.

Yes. Higher COEs are the culprit for high rents. But the Cab companies take cab drivers as fools.

Rent goes up by what, $40-50 from the older toyota crowns.

Assuming cab companies overheads are the same, each NEW cab now give the company an additional $40x365x7 years = $102,200 in revenue. The increase in COE over the last few years is about $50K give or take. (from $30K to about $80K in the last 1-2 years).

So, the cab company actually PROFITED $52K just by replacing the old cab with a new cab.

The sad thing is, our NTA, did nothing to protest and make this a big issue in the media.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, WeNeed1ObamaHere,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, Cab companies make more money from new models. No question about that.

NTA is headed by an MP from the G. What can you expect. Replace the G or him with someone from the opposition parties, then I believe more good would come out for the TD and commuters. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

Hahaha. .welcome to a capitalist world! Which serves only the capitalist! It's a new name for monarchy or aristocracy! Sometimes it's called a socialist democracy or an outright authoritarianism. It may be a tad better but by no means a Utopia. Hopefully in another millennium, humanity could understand what it takes to reach the realm of Happiness! But certainly not at this moment......Cheers...

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