Satisfaction with taxi, private-hire car services held steady in 2021: PTC survey

Respondents mentioned pricing as the key factor in their choice between taking a taxi and a private-hire car. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Overall commuter satisfaction with taxi and private-hire car (PHC) services last year stayed at the same level as that for 2020, according to an annual survey by the Public Transport Council (PTC).

The mean satisfaction score for taxis was 8.5 out of 10, as it was in 2020. The mean score for private-hire cars, at 8.3, also remained unchanged. Rides on taxis booked through third-party apps like JustGrab or GoJek are categorised as taxi rides.

The number of commuters satisfied with taxis and private-hire car services increased slightly.

For taxis, 98 per cent were satisfied, up from 97.5 per cent in 2020. For private-hire cars, this rose to 97.1 per cent last year, from 96.2 per cent in 2020.

Respondents mentioned pricing as the key factor in their choice between taking a taxi and a private-hire car.

Some said they pick taxis due to availability, safety and the driver's knowledge of the route. Those who used private-hire car services cited the ease of use of the smartphone app, ease of payment and reward programmes offered by the platforms as reasons.

The survey, which was conducted online for a second year instead of face to face due to the Covid-19 pandemic, polled a total of 3,332 commuters, who rated taxi and private-hire car services based on seven attributes, on a scale of one to 10.

The attributes are waiting time, ease of booking, service information, ride comfort, the driver's knowledge of route, customer service provided by the driver and the safety of the service. Those who took taxis also rated their satisfaction with taxi-stand accessibility.

The commuters, who were polled between Aug 19 and Sept 3 last year, were deemed satisfied if they gave a score of six and above.

In a Facebook post, Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said she was glad commuters remained satisfied with point-to-point services, "even as our taxi and PHC drivers have had to take additional precautions and safe management measures to ferry passengers safely amid the Covid-19 pandemic".

Respondents rated safety as most important for both taxis and private-hire car services, followed by the ease of booking and the driver's knowledge of the route.

Satisfaction with taxi-stand accessibility fell from a mean score of 8.3 to 8.1.

The number of commuters satisfied with this area fell as well, to 90.7 per cent from 95.9 per cent in 2020.

On waiting time for taxis, 91.8 per cent were satisfied, down from 93.2 per cent in 2020.

Private-hire car services improved in this area, to 88.3 per cent from 2020's 87.8 per cent.

Of the 3,332 commuters surveyed last year, 2,509 - or 75.3 per cent - replied on taxi trips. The rest responded on private-hire car rides.

The 2021 sample size is smaller than the 5,741 respondents in the 2020 online survey, but larger than the 1,503 polled face to face in 2019.

The PTC said the survey was designed to have a minimum sample size of 1,500, with least 750 taxi and 750 private-hire car responses. The results are weighted accordingly to ensure a balanced representation.

The next edition of the survey is expected to be conducted in the same period this year.

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