Cabbies taking home 5% more monthly due to lower fuel costs

Private-hire car services have not affected how much a taxi driver earns on average each month, which has remained relatively unchanged since 2013.
Private-hire car services have not affected how much a taxi driver earns on average each month, which has remained relatively unchanged since 2013.PHOTO: ST FILE

While the average amount a taxi driver earns each month has remained "relatively unchanged" since 2013, their take-home earnings have gone up by about 5 per cent, owing to lower fuel costs.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng gave the figure yesterday when assuring the House that competition from private-hire car services, such as Uber and Grab, has not affected the income of cabbies.

He noted that the average monthly gross income for cabbies, before deducting their taxi rental and fuel costs, has remained mostly static.

But their monthly net income went up from January 2013 to December last year because of lower fuel costs, he said, replying to Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC), who also asked how a framework to ensure enough taxis on the roads would be fine-tuned.

Mr Ng said the Government will review the taxi availability standards "at the end of the year".

The Land Transport Authority said last month that it is reviewing these rules, which require cabbies to clock a minimum mileage daily and ply the roads during the peak hours. The review's aim is to level the playing field between taxi firms and private-hire services.

While Mr Ng said the standards benefit those who hail taxis on the street, he added that "there may be room" to adjust these benchmarks if fewer commuters rely on street hails, given the growth of the private-hire car industry and ride-booking apps in recent years.

National Taxi Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee welcomed the review.

He said: "The taxi availability requirements are managed by the taxi operators, who may pass on the compliance costs to the cabbies."

Adrian Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Cabbies taking home 5% more monthly due to lower fuel costs'. Print Edition | Subscribe