Thursday 24 April 2014

To Grab A Cab Faster - Use GrabTaxi App.

The last post I wrote was about two months ago, in February. Some of my friends and readers have asked: ‘Hey, Are you all right?. Are you still driving a cab?’. Surely, some must have also wondered whether I'm still around in this world!. Unsurprising. At 67 and still driving a cab on our busy roads, anything could have happened to me, right?! Well, Thanks God, I'm OK! but I owe everyone an explanation for being quiet thus far.

Like I've said before, my explanation is quite simple. Apart from getting older and lazier, I'm not enjoying cab driving as much as I used to.

Strangely, I still like to blog but I write only when I've something interesting and worth sharing, if not, I would only be spewing old stuff and wasting everybody’s time. I would rather be quiet and spent time reading and enjoying other brilliant writers' blogs like those I follow here.

Here, I also promise not to repeat the subject matter of my three preceding paragraphs again. It's boring!.

Now, I think I've something worth sharing. It's GrabTaxi App.- a third party taxi booking application which commuters can download onto their smartphones to book and get a cab faster than your call booking to COMFORT. You can read more of this application at this link GrabTaxi. and the story of the founder of GrabTaxi here.  (Link)

This free GrabTaxi App. is super efficient because it locates and alerts ALL brands of cabs (Comfort, SMRT, TransCab, Premier etc) closest to your pick-up point. Therefore, your chance of getting a cab is better and faster. If you call Comfort to book a cab, ONLY Comfort taxis get your messages. So, by simple law of probability, GrabTaxi App. is more efficient because your call booking goes to ALL taxi companies, not just Comfort cabs. Your net is casted wider.

Apart from helping taxi commuters to get a cab faster, GrapTaxi App. also helps taxi drivers to improve their income from more call booking and trips. I hope more taxi commuter and taxi drivers (including Comfort taxi drivers) use this App.

Please allow me to digress a bit. 

Presently, many taxi drivers join Comfort/CityCab because of their copious amount of call bookings and certainly not because of their better incentives, cheaper rental or treatment of drivers. If taxi drivers of SMRT, TransCab, Premier gets more taxi bookings from GrabTaxi App., more taxi drivers will join these taxi companies, not just Comfort. When that happen, hopefully Comfort will treat their drivers better than what they do now. 

Right now, Comfort runs the biggest fleet of taxis in Singapore with about 16,000 taxis, i.e. about 61% of the market share. Therefore, they monopolize the taxi industry and is the "Big Brother". Usually, they set the taxi fares, rental rates, terms/incentives for hirers, etc and other taxi companies follow close to it.

Now, I understand from my taxi buddies that Comfort sack their drivers at their whims & fancy because they have a long "Q" taxi drivers desperately waiting to join them. In addition, my buddies stressed that there is an economic reason for their vicious action in getting rid of drivers who commit trivial mistakes or received frivolous passengers' complaints. 

My buddies explained to me that for every hirer of Hyundai Sonata taxi they sacked, Comfort gets an additional rental income of $10 per day when they lease out the same taxi to a new hirer. 

The old-expelled hirer pays $105 rental per day but a new hirer now pays $115 for the same taxi... a difference of $10/taxi/day. If only 5,000 hirers of Sonata taxis (Comfort has about 12,000 Hyundai Sonata ) are sacked and the same taxi is re-cycled to new hirer, Comfort gets an additional rental income of 5,000 taxis x $10 x 365 days = $18,250,000 per year! 

Wow! $18 million a year! With this astronomical amount of easy money, which can come in as extra year end bonus, gives COMFORT office staffs that added incentive to strive harder for that "you-know-what" target. So, you now know why Comfort sack their drivers quickly esp. Sonata taxi hirer.

My buddies are probably poking fun at Comfort or their stories are just urban legends. On the other hand, how do you debunk or reconcile this "myth" when Comfort has an incentive scheme to reward passengers who lodge successful complaints against taxi drivers with free gift of taxi vouches worth close to a hundred buck! To Comfort, more customer complaints and more sacking means more easy money.

Comfort and myself are supposed to be partners in the taxi business. One cannot survive without the other. Yet, behind my back and in the name of protecting their brand of taxi, you have a partner who has devious schemes to back stab you needlessly. This is what I call betrayal in a partnership! Nevertheless, I still like to believe what my buddies told me is purely a "myth".

Now, coming back to our GrabTaxi App. As Singapore runs on a free economy platform where consumers has the freedom of choice, the foregone conclusion is that taxi booking will eventually be dominated by GrabTaxi, Uber or another company simply because super-efficient App. taxi booking will replace out-dated call booking. This is evidenced by Temasek's recent multi-millions dollars investment in GrabTaxi.

For too long, Comfort has relied on its market dominance and has stagnated in improving its services. The arrival of GrabTaxi has quickly shown how outdated many parts of Comfort’s business model are. 

To survive and thrive, Comfort needs to refocus on its core business, that of leasing cabs to drivers with better rental rates and treatment of their drivers, among others!

Read more: Why GrabTaxi is giving Singapore’s largest taxi operator a run for its money

Install GrabTaxi App. here (Install)


P/S: I think my Comfort Days are numbered !!
. (24th April 2014)

Updated on 1st Sept 2014
True enough, I was terminated on 28th Aug, 2014.
Read my post about my termination here. ( Link )


Gintai_昇泰 said...

You are correctly to say that Comfort got the highest call bookings. But with this app it may no longer be true. One pax complt to me so difficult to get thru to their booking line. It's easier using this app cuz they can see where the taxi is coming from. Pax can even call the cabby directly instead of thru the call operator. It's a run for their money!

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, Gintai,

Are you using it?. I'll use after your tuition!

Unknown said...

Thanks for pointing out GrabTaxi. I heard about this app but I guess it takes an industry player to point out the pros better.

SG Wealth Builder

Dan said...

Go Hong Kong and take cabs from there to compare , both Singapore and Hong Kong is a small island will realise how costly our taxi is

daniel_w said...

Hi Mr Lim,

I wonder if you have any tips for those who're looking for daily pick up at regular time (like for drop off to office / school)? Are most taxi drivers keen on it (or is it too much commitment)? And how to find the keen one =) ?

Getting through the call centre is difficult, and I don't always have taxi around my area at 8.30AM. So GrabApp doesn't really helps.

Thank you ahead for your advice =)

Unknown said...

First, I don't work for GLCs taxi companies now..I agree. .they monopolise and are arrogant. I believe in laizzer fair. Why taxi drivers in countries in Europe and others can own and run their own taxis but in democratic Republic of Singapore, we must rent from what is so called the 2nd biggest transport company in the world and then slog like buffaloes...another socialist capitalist justification. ..

Lydia Gan said...

Hello James, I understand it must have been tough for you to switch career at the age of 55. Singaporeans are encouraged to continue working till the age of 70, but the key issue is getting jobs /employers that would keep us till age 70.

I am writing an article for my blog, I hope this article would help people understand about the Taxi Driving profession better. I am conducting a survey to gather information for this article. The link is

Kindly help to forward this short 10 question survey to your fellow colleagues. Thank you very much. :)

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, Lydia Gan.

I've done what you asked but my buddies won't want to participate as most of them are simply not interested. Bye.

Anonymous said...

I am a a cabbie with the socalled glc company. One of my pet peeves with the co is that their booking system will intentionally 'throw' us call bookings that are quite far away, even when at super peak periods where all taxistands are full of people all calling taxis. I now understand why this is so....u see this co makes the biggest chunk of its profits selling diesel to its 18,000 strong fleet of cabbies. So by making us run further intentionally it creates more profits frim us and when customers get irritated waiting at the pickup points, we get the brunt of their frustration! Dont believe me go see their latest annual report n u can see that 70% of their profits in taxi ops cimes from diesel sales to us. Worst is that we actually hv to go big roundabout way just to pick up a call booking! Btw, this co also makes money on all cashless transactions such as nets, credit card ,ez-link etc. Us cabbies dont get a single cent from these finance charges. Worst still, we got to wait a couple ofdays for thebank to credit the fares to us!

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, Anon,

From my experience, I ignore all call bookings that are "far" (5km or more)from my position or places that are potentially jam with traffic. TD have the luxury of choice albeit unfortunate for our customer.

From my rough estimate, COMFORT makes about S$8.2 million yearly just from the 30 cents NET charge. This is how I arrive at that $8.2 millions.

30cents x 5 NET transaction per taxi x 15,000 taxis x 365 days = $8.2 millions.

Even divide by half, COMFORT still makes $4.1 million yearly. What do TD gets from this profit....ZERO!!!!

They have a reward scheme to encourage TD to accept NETS payment because they make astronomical EASY money from all cashless payment.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, Daniel W,

Sry for my late reply.

Like I said many times before, most TD do not like to be tired down with fixed schedule. Therefore, it's very difficult to find a TD to suit your travel time.

I suggest you try calling all the taxi companies to find a TD for you. You might be lucky to get one. You never know! Good Luck!!

theonion said...

James Lim

When you calculate your income, you include the cost of making it yet when you calculate your taxi companies income, you ignore costs, just the equivalent of fares/revenues even though there are admin/other costs to do it.

By the way, considering that I use taxis regularly, i have never heard of such vouchers for succesful complaints reward and have never received them. However, you are willing to consider such theories walau.
NTUC has given vouchers at times (please note not all) for compensation to passengers who have suffered actual hurt.

Thanks for the grab taxi app and publcising it, it is quite useful and i have used before even in other cities

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Hi, theonion,

Thanks for your comment.

The cashless system for NETS, E-Link & others has been around for more than a decade. The initial set up cost for software and hardware had long been recovered. Therefore, current revenue is almost nett income.

You should try to make more complaints to our company about TD misconduct. In this way, you chances of getting free taxi vouches will increase. Try harder. It's an easy way to get free taxi rides. Good Luck in your endeavor.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

HI, theonion,

In case you're unaware, I would like to share with you a legitimate recourse you can take in the event you're injured as a passenger in a taxi accident, irrespective of extent of your injuries or who is at fault in the traffic accident.

Get a lawyer to sue the responsible "parties" for personal compensation which could come to a few thousand $$$$ depending on the extend of your injuries. Your lawyer would know what to do.

Isn't this better than the peanut vouches from NTUC taxi!

Boh Tong said...

James thanks for sharing. Yes I was wondering what has happened to you too. Can't blame me cos we are at that age....hehe.

Uncle Roy said...

Hi Uncle Lim,

Thank you for the blog.
Personally, I am a taxi driver relief as well.
We are expected to know where this place(job) that been assigned to us during our course of work and define a time where we expected to reach.
We unable to predict traffic conditions how we can define a time?

Let alone, a few times i went to that place already.. waiting outside and the customers cancel the bookings.

Really fedup.. So driver are always wrong and customers always right?.. True enough but company should show ample sympathy to drivers.. we have hard time too..

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

Stay informed with booking and other notifications from your limops apps keeping you up to date on your emails, and cell phones.

awaz said...

I ave a friend who had experienced almost the same case with Uber. Thank goodness, he finally found a decent job now. I hope the world will be gracious to you soon :)

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