The Straits Times
Published on Dec 18, 2012

Too many cabs or too many off-duty cabbies - which is it?


LAST WEEK, there were three days when I was not able to book a taxi between 5pm and 6pm. On one of those days, I had to walk 1km to a taxi stand after failing to find a cab outside my office at 5pm. I finally got a taxi at 7pm.

It is noticeably worse when it is raining or on Friday evenings.

In times like these, one cannot help but wonder if the lamentation of cabbies that there are too many taxis in Singapore is a fantasy in their minds.

What is certain is that my wait for a taxi is no fantasy.

Someone running the industry is not getting it right or is not telling it like it is: Either there are too many taxis or we have too many taxi drivers not operating their vehicles as they should.

I am glad that the authorities will be introducing a new key performance indicator for taxi companies, which will force them to monitor and report their vehicle utilisation hours to a preset target.

However, just because a taxi is on the road does not necessarily mean the cabby is picking up passengers. So, another measure needs to be considered that penalises the taxi driver if he fails to clock a minimum number of on-road hours per week.

Matthew Ong