Whip taxi companies into shape

It is worrying that a small nation like Singapore still cannot solve its taxi woes, despite having nearly 28,000 cabs on register.

Something must be wrong with the system.

It is not a matter of supply and demand. Demand is there, but supply is artificially choked due to complaints of high rentals and rogue drivers who surface only when surcharges kick in.

Taxi drivers here have it good, with all kinds of surcharges - from airports to cruise centres to holiday, peak-hour and midnight charges - to entice them to stay on the roads.

Now, taxi companies are allowed to charge higher fees on a surge in demand (Green light for taxi firms to adopt surge pricing; March 18).

Is it necessary to duplicate the surge pricing structure of Uber and other private-hire car rides?

It will only add to the woes of commuters, who call for cabs because they are in remote areas or there are long queues at the taxi stands.

Uber and other private-hire car rides became popular because of the unreliable taxi service.

Instead of trying to help taxi companies improve their bottom line and the income of its drivers at the expense of commuters, the authorities should examine how to whip them into shape.

Lin Howard

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Whip taxi companies into shape'. Print Edition | Subscribe