Taxi firms must innovate to bring passengers back

I cannot help but feel a sense of irony in the comments made by National Taxi Association (NTA) executive adviser Ang Hin Kee ("Fare cuts by Uber, Grab will hurt sector: Taxi body"; April 24).

He spoke about the "checks and balances" in the hired-car market and the possibility of charging commuters a premium once there is a domination in private-hire car firms.

This was precisely what commuters faced before the likes of Uber and Grab entered the picture.

Taxi companies were increasing flagdown fares and commuters had to deal with a complex structure of surcharges.

But when private companies and citizens bring forward the solution by way of private-hire cars, taxi companies and the NTA try to shut them down.

This is hardly useful and against the fairness of open competition.

Taxi companies will need to innovate to bring commuters back.

Sadly, there are still many taxi drivers who are refusing to pick up passengers (citing shift change, inconvenient locations, and so on) and would play hide-and-seek and wait for calls.

I have seen available taxis waiting outside the road next to Marina Bay Suites while the taxi stand at One Raffles Quay has a line of waiting passengers.

It has become extremely expensive to take a cab now compared with a mere five years ago.

Taxi companies and drivers have no one but themselves to blame for breeding a dominating and non-sustainable culture in the hired-car industry.

Gavin Moey Kok Khung