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Taxicabs of Singapore

Taxicabs are a popular form of public transport in the compact city state of Singapore, with fares considered relatively low compared to those in most cities in developed countries. There is a total fleet of 24,022 taxis operated by eight taxi companies and independent drivers in April 2008 , collectively completing 588,632 trips daily across the island in June 2005

Taxis may be flagged down at any time of the day along any public road. Issues of high traffic and demand in certain locations and areas, particularly in the downtown area and other major buildings and establishments around the island, require the building of taxi stands. As taxis may conversely be harder to obtain in less densely populated areas, as well as to meet the needs of time-sensitive users, taxis may be booked via telephone or through the internet for a fee, which is then transmitted to individual taxis via a Global Positioning System or digital voice dispatch.

Stringent requirements ensure that all taxis are fitted with meters and are air-conditioned and serviceable. Drivers who fail to utilise their meters may be fined up to S$500, an enforced rule which brings fare disputes down to a minimum. About 90% of taxis have inbuilt AM radio communications.

Operations

Taxis are predominantly operated by large companies, the latter of which require a Taxi Operator Licence (TOL) from the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Holders of the TOL are required to comply with LTA's Quality of Service (QoS) standards, codes of practice and audit directions, failure of which the LTA may revoke the licence. There are seven companies holding the TOL currently, namely:

Holding company Taxi company Brand Dominant
colour
Fleet Incorporated Link
ComfortDelGro Corporation,
Singapore Technologies Kinetics
CityCab CityCab Yellow 3,835 1995
ComfortDelGro Corporation Comfort Transportation Comfort Blue 9,138 1970
Premier Rent A Car Premier Taxis Silvercab Silver 2,436 2004
SMART Automobile Pte Ltd. SMART SMART Cabs Green 2,441 2004
SMRT Corporation SMRT Taxis SMRT Taxis Beige 3,004 1989
Union Energy Transcab Services TransCab Red
and
white
139 2004
Prime Car Rental & Taxi Services Prime Taxis Prime Copper 3,989 2007 Not available
Total 23,540^

^Excluding 482 individually owned taxis

Although there are seven cab companies, CityCab, Comfort are part of a single company, ComfortDelGro. Comfort DelGro Yellow-Top taxis has ceased to exist in October 2007. A further 482 taxis are run by individual owners of their vehicles, collectively known as Yellow-Top taxis. These taxis are required to be replaced every eight years, or they may choose to have their licence acquired by Yellow-Top Cab and become a hirer of the taxi company. These taxis are expected to eventually cease to exist, however, as all new taxi drivers are required to hire their taxis from any of the TOL holders.

All taxi drivers in Singapore are required to hold a valid Taxi Driver's Vocational Licence (TDVL) issued by the Land Transport Authority, after having met basic pre-requisites and successfully completed a training course in the Singapore Taxi Academy and passing a theory test. Holders of the licence may then approach any of the seven TOL holding companies to hire a taxi on a daily rental basis, the rental rate and associated benefits of which varies between the various companies. As at April 2008, there were a total of 92,038 TDVL holders in Singapore.

Fares

Fares on Singapore's taxis are considered relatively affordable, and are thus a popular form of public transportation in Singapore particularly for the upper-middle income groups. Taxi fares were regulated by the Public Transport Council until September 1998 to allow operators full freedom in setting their own fares in a bid to introduce greater competition in the market.

In July 2006, ComfortDelGro raised fares for all three operators under its umbrella, and SMRT Taxis and TransCab followed suit Premier Taxis adjusted its fares differently by only increasing some fare components, while SmartCab chose not to raise its fares at all, resulting in the most marked price differentiation between the companies since deregulation in 1998. One month later, it was reported that these fare adjustments had resulted in a drop of up to 20% in earnings for taxi drivers .

All taxi fares are metered, and it is an offence for taxi drivers to disable, tamper with, or fail to use their metering devices. Drivers found guilty may be fined up to S$500. Current taxi fares are tabled as follows:

On 10 December 2007, ComfortDelGro announced another revision in fares with increases ranging from 10 to 49%, due for implementation by 17 December 2007. It called on other taxi companies to follow its fare structure "as soon as possible". On 11 July 2008, ComfortDelGro announced the implemention of a $0.30 fuel surcharge starting from 17 July. Other taxi companies except Prime Taxis followed suit with different implemention dates.

Previous fares

Fares and surcharges CityCab, Comfort, Yellow-Top Cab, TransCab, SMRT Taxis SmartCab Premier Taxis
Flagdown fare S$2.50 (≤ 1 km)¹ S$2.60 (≤ 1 km)¹
Meter fare S$0.10 (every 210 m thereafter or less > 1 km and ≤ 10 km)
S$0.10 (every 175 m thereafter or less > 1 km and ≤ 10 km)
S$0.10 (every 225 m thereafter or less > 1 km and ≤ 10 km)
S$0.10 (every 200 m thereafter or less > 10 km)
Waiting S$0.10 (every 25 seconds or less)
Booking S$4.00 (0730 - 0930 and 1700 - 2300 hours Monday - Friday)
S$2.50 (all other times including public holidays)
S$5.20 (advance)
Peak hours S$2.00 (0700 - 0930 and 1700 - 2000)
Late night 10% of meter fare (2330 - 2344 hours)
20% of meter fare (2345 - 2359 hours)
35% of meter fare (0000 - 0059 hours)
50% of meter fare (0100 - 0600 hours)
50% of meter fare (0000 - 0600 hours)
Public holidays S$1.00 (1800 hours eve to 2400 hours of New Year's Day, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Christmas Day, first and second day of Chinese New Year. Should public holiday fall on a Sunday, the surchage will be imposed till 2400 hrs on Monday)
CBD S$1.00 (1700 - 2000 hours, Monday - Thursday; 1700 - 2330 hours, Friday, Saturday, except public holidays) S$1.00 (1700 - 2000 hours, Monday - Thursday; 1700 - 0000 hours, Friday, Saturday, except public holidays)
Locations S$5.00 (Singapore Changi Airport: Friday - Sunday from 1700 to 0000 hours)
S$3.00 (Singapore Changi Airport: all other times)
S$3.00 (Seletar Airport)
S$2.00 (Singapore Expo)
¹ - Higher flag-down rates for certain models.

Revised fares

Fares and surcharges CityCab, Comfort, Yellow-Top Cab (from 17 July 2008)
SMRT Taxis (from 26 July 2008)
Premier Taxis, TransCab (from 24 July 2008), SmartCab (from 1 August 2008) Prime (from 1 January 2008)
Flagdown fare S$2.80 (≤ 1 km)¹ S$2.50 (≤ 1 km)
Fuel $0.30 -
Meter fare S$0.20 (every 385 m thereafter or less > 1 km and ≤ 10 km)
S$0.20 (every 330 m thereafter or less > 10 km)
S$0.10 (every 210 m thereafter or less > 1 km and ≤ 10 km)
S$0.10 (every 175 m thereafter or less > 10 km)
Waiting S$0.20 (every 45 seconds or less) S$0.10 (every 25 seconds or less)
Booking S$3.50 (0730 - 0930 and 1700 - 2300 hours Monday - Friday)
S$2.50 (all other times including public holidays)
S$5.20 (advance)
S$3.50 (0730 - 0930 and 1700 - 2300 hours Monday - Friday)
S$2.50 (all other times including public holidays)
S$5.00 (advance)
S$3.50 (0730 - 0930 and 1700 - 2300 hours Monday - Friday)
S$2.50 (all other times including public holidays)
S$5.20 (advance)
Peak hours² 35% of metered fare (0700 - 0930 and 1700 - 2000) S$2.00 (0700 - 0930 and 1700 - 2000)
Late night 50% of meter fare (0000 - 0559 hours)
Public holidays S$1.00 (1800 hours eve to 2400 hours of New Year's Day, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Christmas Day, first and second day of Chinese New Year. Should public holiday fall on a Sunday, the surchage will be imposed till 2400 hrs on Monday)
CBD S$3.00 (1700 - 0000 hours, Monday - Saturday, except public holidays)
Locations S$5.00 (Singapore Changi Airport: Friday - Sunday from 1700 to 0000 hours)
S$3.00 (Singapore Changi Airport: all other times)
S$3.00 (Seletar Airport)
S$2.00 (Singapore Expo)
¹ - Higher flag-down rates for certain models. ² - Not applicable on Public Holidays

All Electronic Road Pricing charges incurred on the trip are to be borne by the customer. An additional 10% administrative charge on the total fare is also incurred when payment is made on credit or charge cards. Higher fares apply for premium taxi services that employ premium vehicles, such as CityCab's Presido and MaxiCab, Yellow-Top Cab's Sovereign limousines, SMRT's Prestige and London Taxi and Airport Transfer service, and so on.

Vehicle types

In the late 1960s, the first Yellow-Top taxi was the Mercedes Benz 220S Ponton followed by the Austin Cambridge A60. In the 1970s the Austin Cambridge A60 continued until the early 1980s followed by models of the Opel Rekord D, Peugeot 504, Morris Marina and the Russian Volga Gaz 24.

In the middle 1980s, the staple vehicles for all operators were the Toyota Comfort, Nissan Cedric and Isuzu Florian. These were stripped-down versions of their Japanese luxury-car siblings, with an emphasis on operating costs over comfort. Cheap plastic fittings and PVC seats replaced materials such as wood and leather, insulation was removed to save weight, and early generation diesel engines replaced the original petrol units. The resulting vehicles were simple to maintain and extremely reliable, but were lacking in comfort, with very high levels of NVH.

The move by various operators to various makes and models of premium vehicles came largely as a result of Euro IV regulations, which came into effect in late 2006. The older diesel engines in the Crown and Cedric are unable to meet the new emissions standards, and these taxis will no longer be offered for sale.

The newer taxicabs benefit from vastly improved interiors and more advanced engines with lower emissions and noise levels, which used to be the preserve of the premium Mercedes-Benz "limousine" services.

ComfortDelgro announced it would acquire a fleet of 2,400 Hyundai Sonatas in November 2007 over the next 2 years for its subsidiaries Comfort and Citycab, during which period they will enjoy exclusive rights from the distributor for using the type as a taxicab.

All taxicabs in Singapore have to pay the much higher road tax applied to diesel-powered passenger cars, which was intended to deter people from using diesel-powered vehicles for private use. This road tax bill is footed by the taxi company (except for STTA taxis), and can be as high as S$6,300 annually. However, some operators are trialling vehicles powered by natural gas, which are not only exempted from diesel taxes, but are also given waivers on road tax intended to offset the higher cost of ownership and to make them more attractive for the early adoptors of the cleaner vehicles.

Currently, the following vehicle makes and models are in use:

Normal vehicles Premium vehicles (higher booking charges)
Fiat Doblo Petrol
Honda Airwave (CNG)
Honda Stepwagon (CNG)
Honda Stream (CNG)
Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Azera(CNG)
Kia Carens (CNG)
Kia Carnival
Kia Magentis
Peugeot Partner
Toyota
Toyota Camry JDM Model (CNG)
Toyota Corolla Axio (CNG)
Toyota Corolla Fielder (CNG)
Toyota Crown Comfort
Toyota Estima (CNG)
Toyota Hilux
Toyota LiteAce
Toyota Wish (CNG)
Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI
Mercedes-Benz E200 NGT natural gas/petrol bi-fuel
Mercedes-Benz Vito 115 CDI (7-seater)
SsangYong Rodius SV270 XDI (7-seater)
Skoda Superb
Volkswagen Touran
Hyundai Starex CRDI (7-Seater)
Chrysler 300C
Hyundai Ventura
All of these vehicles seat 4 adult passengers unless otherwise stated. Passengers are required by law to wear seat belts,but this rule is rarely enforced.

See also

References

External links

  • Singapore Taxi - Taxis info & rates in Singapore
  • Taxis in Singapore
  • Taxi statistics
  • SG Taxi Travel - Plan your journey with user-contributed records
  • Think Singapore - The Singapore Taxi Experience by Ieuan Dolby, from
  • TripSum.com 1st online ERP / Taxi fare calculator to check and calculate taxi fare inclusive of (Electronic Road Pricing)ERP amount and taxi surcharges needed for a passenger's taxi trip at different day, time, cab and place in Singapore
  • Limousine Cab - Limousine Taxi Cabs in Singapore
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