Work together to benefit cab drivers, passengers

In every trade, there are bound to be some black sheep ("Don't blame taxi apps for meeting commuter needs" by Mr Gurmit Singh Kullar; April 26). Let us not tar the whole taxi industry with the same brush.

Many taxi drivers welcome competition, as it is good for both taxi drivers and consumers alike. But it must be fair and on a level playing field.

However, in the case of private-hire car operators, they have a much lower entry barrier, as they do not carry the heavy compliance cost of needing to meet the minimum daily mileage of 250km and plying during morning and evening peak periods.

National Taxi Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee talked about the high compliance required of taxi operators ("Fare cuts by Uber, Grab will hurt sector: Taxi body"; April 24). For instance, taxis have to be sent for monthly servicing and maintenance and six-monthly vehicle inspection.

As a result, on average, the rental cost of a taxi is 70 per cent to 80 per cent higher than that of a private-hire car.

For the safety of passengers, it is prudent that all cars used for private hire on a prolonged and frequent basis be subject to the same requirements taxis face.

Many taxi drivers do embrace new technology and are already using third-party taxi booking apps.

It is not the new taxi apps that are the problem, but the unfair competition and uneven playing field private-hire cars have over taxis.

Let us not point fingers. Instead, we should collectively work together for the benefit of commuters and drivers alike, so that passengers can enjoy their ride and drivers can earn a decent income.

Make the playing field level for all to compete in a true meritocracy.

John Leong Yew Cheong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Work together to benefit cab drivers, passengers'. Print Edition | Subscribe