ComfortDelGro will join other cab operators in levying a surcharge when there are more than four passengers in a limousine taxi.
From next Monday, ComfortDelGro's seven-seater MaxiCabs will have an additional fee of $3 per person, for the fifth, sixth and seventh passenger.
The fee, however, will not apply to flat-rate transfer services, ComfortDelGro said in an advertisement placed in the classified section of The Straits Times on Friday. Flat-rate services include bookings to go to the airport for $55, for example.
ComfortDelGro, which reportedly has a fleet of close to 160 MaxiCabs, did not respond to queries about why it decided to implement this surcharge now.
Sources said the majority of its drivers had signed a petition requesting the levy, to cover the high daily rentals of over $160.
The additional passenger surcharge has been a common practice at cab firms such as Premier, Prime and SMRT.
'UNWISE' MOVE AMID COMPETITION
It's not wise to have this surcharge now, since we are facing competition from Uber and GrabCar.
A CABBY, who requested anonymity.
Since 2011, SMRT has levied a $2 surcharge for every passenger exceeding four adults in its seven-seater Ssangyong and London taxis.
Asked if the firm would follow ComfortDelGro's $3 surcharge, Mr Tony Heng, general manager of SMRT Taxis, said: "We review such surcharges from time to time, and will make revisions when necessary."
Premier, which also has a similar $2 per passenger surcharge for its seven-seater SilverLux fleet, has no plans to change its pricing policy.
Prime, which operates several models of MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) taxis, levies a flat surcharge of $9 per trip, as long as there are more than four passengers in the vehicle.
Some MaxiCab drivers expressed concern that, after this surcharge, passengers may start to shun them.
A 40-year-old cabby, who wanted to be known only as Ms Tan, said "every price increase is criticised". She added: "What customers may not know is that ComfortDelGro is one of the last companies implementing this surcharge."
Another cabby, who requested anonymity, said: "Now we are no different from our rivals. It's not wise to have this surcharge now, as we are facing competition from Uber and GrabCar."
Lawyer Sue Kaur, 40, said she will think twice about taking a MaxiCab now. She added: "Big cabs are useful as the entire family can ride together. But now, I think I would rather call two Uber cars than one MaxiCab."
Ms Claudia Cani, 36, an IT project manager, said: "Splitting cabs might not necessarily be cheaper. I do not think there will be a big difference whether we take two regular cabs or one MaxiCab."