ComfortDelGro to extend temporary one-cent hike for taxi distance fares until end-July

Flag-down fares, which were raised on March 1, remain unchanged. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - ComfortDelGro, Singapore's largest taxi operator, is extending a temporary one-cent increase in its distance and waiting time fares until the end of July as fuel prices continue to remain high.

The company said this in a Facebook post on Thursday (May 12).

The temporary fare hike, which was introduced on April 4, followed moves by other point-to-point transport operators to impose temporary fees to help drivers cope with rising costs.

The hike will now be extended until 11.59pm on July 31, said the firm.

Flag-down fares, which were raised on March 1, remain unchanged, ComfortDelGro added.

When the firm announced the temporary hike, it had said that the fare increase would be reviewed by the end of this month, and removed if fuel prices ease.

But pump prices are on the rise again, sparked by fresh fears of a ban on Russian oil, The Straits Times reported last Friday.

Prices of 92-octane petrol reached new highs, while diesel breached the $3 mark for the first time.

According to the Consumers Association of Singapore's pump price tracker, Fuel Kaki, the prices for a litre of 92-octane petrol currently range from $3.04 at Singapore Petroleum Company to $3.14 at Caltex, while diesel costs range from $2.95 a litre at Sinopec to $3.08 at Shell.

Mr Jackson Chia, chief executive of ComfortDelGro Taxi, previously said that ComfortDelGro cabbies were paying close to 14 per cent more for fuel in late March compared with February.

The company has been absorbing a large part of the increase in fuel costs so that its drivers can enjoy a lower rate.

ComfortDelGro taxi drivers currently pay $1.80 per litre for diesel and $2.20 per litre for petrol.

With the temporary hike, both metered and non-metered fares, the latter of which applies to rides booked via ComfortDelGro's ComfortRide service, have gone up correspondingly.

For every 400m travelled up to 10km, every 350m travelled after 10km, and every 45 seconds or less of waiting time, passengers are currently being charged 25 cents for regular ComfortDelGro cabs and 34 cents for its limousine cabs.

This amounts to a fare increase of about 32 cents for a 10km taxi ride, ComfortDelGro had said.

The company operates a fleet of about 9,000 cabs here, or about 60 per cent of the taxi population.

A Public Transport Council spokesman said it has been informed of ComfortDelGro’s intention to extend the temporary fare hike.

Three other taxi operators - SMRT’s Strides Taxi, Premier Taxi and Prime Taxi - had also temporarily increased their distance and waiting time fares.

These hikes are due to end on May 31, and it remains to be seen if the three operators will follow ComfortDelGro’s lead and extend theirs as well.

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