Commuters, cabbies worse off with dynamic fare structure

Almost all taxi companies here have submitted proposals to the Public Transport Council to implement a new fare system which includes dynamic pricing during taxi booking (2 taxi firms plan to Grab hold of more customers; March 1, and ComfortDelGro likely to peg cab fares to demand; March 4).

It seems commuters will be held to ransom whenever there is a huge demand for these services.

The majority of commuters and more than half of taxi drivers who responded to a survey on the Singapore Taxi Driver Facebook page disagreed with taxis having dynamic pricing.

This suggests that taxi drivers may be worse off with dynamic pricing.

Will taxi rental rates be reduced to match that of other cars? Will taxi drivers be charged a commission?

Dynamic pricing may not be the solution to the shortage of transport services here.

The reason behind the lack of taxis is the uneven geographical demand for taxis across Singapore. Unless we solve this problem, even putting more vehicles on the road will not work.

Furthermore, with the introduction of dynamic pricing, what differentiates taxis from private-hire cars?

Will private-hire car companies then request to be allowed to pick up street hails so as to level the playing field?

It may be best to hold off any plans for a new taxi fare structure until the regulations for private-hire vehicles are enforced.

Lim Lian Chin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'Commuters, cabbies worse off with dynamic fare structure'. Print Edition | Subscribe