Change the way taxi fares are charged

Being a taxi driver is hard and stressful. Cabbies have to be on the road for at least 12 hours a day to make a living.

Not paying them the fare they have rightfully earned is to deprive them of a means of covering their daily expenses (More taxi fare cheats despite stiff penalties; Aug 3).

To mitigate the risk, the authorities may want to consider having passengers make a down payment of, say, $10, upfront.

When the passenger reaches his destination, the driver can return any balance funds or collect more if the deposit falls short of the full fare.

This is akin to the ez-link card system, where the system deducts the maximum fare when the passenger boards a bus or train, and then returns the balance when the passenger alights.

With stiff rivalry from Uber and Grab, taxi companies may need to change the way they collect fares from passengers and consider a flat charge instead of meter-based charging.

A flat charge gives more transparency and certainty.

The passenger will be able to decide if he can afford the ride.

This is better than meter-based fares, which may end up being higher than expected, owing to traffic or a longer route.

Flat fares would encourage drivers to take the shortest route to the destination so they can pick up more passengers.

This is advantageous to all parties.

Donny Ho Boon Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'Change the way taxi fares are charged'. Print Edition | Subscribe