Taxi ridership tumbles by 18% as commuters turn to private-hire car services

The results of a Public Transport Council survey showed that commuters had a greater propensity to use private-hire car services, rather than cabs.
The results of a Public Transport Council survey showed that commuters had a greater propensity to use private-hire car services, rather than cabs.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - 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 (2017).

The results of a Public Transport Council (PTC) survey released on Friday (Feb 23) also showed that commuters had a greater propensity to use private-hire car services, rather than cabs.

Over 70 per cent of the commuters polled last year (2017) said that they took a private-hire car ride in the last seven days, a 20 percentage point jump from 50 per cent in the previous year 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 (2017).

Separately, the PTC on Friday 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 1 to 10, with 1 being "very dissatisfied" and 10 being "very satisfied".

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

Satisfaction with taxis continue to trail behind, with a mean score of 7.9 last year (2017), 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.

The PTC added: "The survey also showed that the numerous discounts by private hire cars was the most likely reason why respondents would prefer taking private hire cars, instead of buses and the MRT."

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

With the entrance and boom of private-hire car services in the last few years, Singapore's taxi population has been shrinking.

According to the Land Transport Authority's statistics, the taxi fleet stood at 23,140 as of Dec 31, 2017 - 19 per cent down from its 2014 peak of 28,736.

In contrast, the chauffeured private-hire car population stood at 46,903 - more than double the taxi numbers - at the end of last year.