Taxi ridership fell 18% last year: Poll

Transport council survey also shows higher satisfaction for cabs, private-hire car services

With a shrinking taxi population and commuters taking to the likes of Uber and Grab, the average daily ridership for taxis has tumbled by 18 per cent, from 954,000 in 2016 to 785,000 last year.

The results of a Public Transport Council (PTC) survey released yesterday also showed commuters had a greater propensity to use private-hire car services, rather than cabs.

More than 70 per cent of the commuters polled last year said that they took a private-hire car ride in the past seven days, a 20 percentage point jump from 50 per cent in the previous year's survey.

In comparison, only about 30 per cent of respondents said that they took a taxi ride in the past week in last year's survey, dipping from 50 per cent in the 2016 poll.

The PTC said of the trend: "This could have been due to lower taxi ridership and the availability of more private-hire car services."

The council's door-to-door survey on taxi and private-hire car usage, which involved more than 1,500 Singapore residents aged 15 and above, was carried out in July and August last year.

Asked about the dipping taxi ridership, National Taxi Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee said there is room for cab operators to improve, such as through offering more electronic payment methods. They can also better meet passengers' needs, such as having taxis which are more friendly to those with disabilities, for instance.

WHAT COMMUTERS VALUE MOST

Taxi users were most satisfied with the three attributes of safety, driver's knowledge of route and service information, while private-hire car users were most satisfied with ease of booking, safety and service information.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT COUNCIL 

"With more cabbies using apps such as Uber and Grab, coupled with street-hails and taxi stand pickups, their ability to get passengers should improve," Mr Ang said.

Separately, the PTC yesterday also released its annual commuter satisfaction survey on point-to-point transport.

The study found that both taxis and private-hire services saw improvements in their mean satisfaction scores, which are based on a scale of one to 10, with one standing for "very dissatisfied" and 10 "very satisfied".

Private-hire car services earned a mean satisfaction score of 8.2 in last year's poll, compared with 7.9 in the 2016 survey.

Satisfaction with taxis continues to trail behind, with a mean score of 7.9 last year, and 7.5 in 2016.

"Taxi users were most satisfied with the three attributes of safety, driver's knowledge of route and service information, while private-hire car users were most satisfied with ease of booking, safety and service information," the PTC said.

  • AVERAGE DAILY RIDERSHIP FOR TAXIS

  • 954,000

    In 2016.  

  • 785,000

    In 2017.

"Of those who indicated that they took more private-hire cars and less bus and MRT (services) than before, six in 10 answered that discounts offered by private-hire cars were a reason."

The commuter satisfaction poll surveyed 1,500 taxi and private-hire car users aged 15 and above at 30 locations islandwide during peak and off-peak hours. The survey was done from August to September.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Taxi ridership fell 18% last year: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe