GRAPHICS

3 taxi firms can grow fleet in 1st half of 2014

Taxi operators Comfort, CityCab and SMRT will be able to expand their fleet in the first six months of next year, after meeting the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) taxi availability standards. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Taxi operators Comfort, CityCab and SMRT will be able to expand their fleet in the first six months of next year, after meeting the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) taxi availability standards. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Taxi operators Comfort, CityCab and SMRT will be able to expand their fleet in the first six months of next year, after meeting the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) taxi availability standards.

The standards for this year require 70 per cent of each operator's fleet to ply the roads during peak hours and clock at least 250km a day.

This will be raised to 80 per cent from January, though the LTA will reduce the requirements for taxis on the road during the shoulder peak hours of 6am to 7am and 11pm to midnight. It cited lower demand during these hours, and feedback from taxi firms and cabbies.

From January to September this year, both TransCab and Premier struggled in several months to meet the standards for taxis on the road, particularly during shoulder peak periods. Prime failed the standards in both areas every month.

New taxi availability standards
Peak period 2013 2014
6-7am 65% 60%
7-11am 70% 80%
5-11pm 70% 80%
11pm-Midnight 65% 60%

Source: LTA

The LTA said more taxis are on the roads serving commuters since its standards kicked in. It will also fine the operators from January if they fail the standards for consecutive months.

It will also begin a trial to inform operators about waiting times at five taxi stands that see high demand in the city so cabs can be dispatched there to cut waiting times.