Taxi Fares Revision is NOT JUSTIFIED~!

Hello Everyone,

I have been asked to share my thoughts about the recent Taxi Fares Revision and well, I am going to rant here and I hope you will probably understand why I feel so upset about the fare revisions!

Frankly speaking, there are quite a few Taxi companies in Singapore, namely Comfort Delgro [both Comfort and City Cab], SMRT, Premier, Prime, and Smart Cab. Out of all these Taxi companies, Comfort Delgro is the largest of it all. So, my guess is this, if Comfort Delgro revises its fares [being the largest market shareholder], the rest of the taxi companies will follow suit.

The cost of diesel is $1.51 per litre [most expensive being Shell as of 13 December 2012].
Assuming 1 litre of diesel can travel on average 13KM and assuming we use the new fare revisions from Comfort Delgro:

Flag Down [1st KM]: $3.20 for the Hyundai Sonata [especially when these are the more common ones we flag on the road]
1KM to 10KM: $0.22 for every 400m
Above 10KM: $0.22 for every 350m
Waiting Time: $0.22 for every 45 seconds

For a journey from Serangoon NeX Shopping Mall to Orchard MRT Station [approximately 9KM and travel time about 13 minutes]: the Taxi Fare would cost you [$3.20+$4.40] = $7.60 [theoretically speaking]

But how many of us know that traffic circumstances on the road are sometimes unpredictable especially when there are encounters with sudden traffic jams, ERP, waiting for traffic light to change colour and so on? And this means that the fare could most probably be higher than usual.

Now for the taxi driver, how much profits does he gain from this single trip? [$7.60-$1.51] = $6.09
Besides earning from meter fares, taxi drivers also earn from booking fees, peak surcharge, midnight surcharge, city area surcharge and etc. Assuming the average rental rate of a Taxi is $69, all it takes is 12 trips of [Serangoon NeX to Orchard MRT] for the taxi drivers to earn back their profit. And assuming each trip takes about 13minutes, it only takes 2.6 hours for the taxi driver to start earning his profits.

Now let’s take this a little bit further. Assuming an average Singaporean works from 8am-5pm with 1 hour lunch time included, that would be exactly 8 hours. We take [8-2.6] and that would be 5.4 hours for a taxi driver to earn his keep. Working backwards, 5.4 hours = 324 minutes and 324/13 = 25 trips from Serangoon NeX to Orchard MRT and 25 trips of such X $6.09 = $152.25

So in a day, a taxi driver earns maybe about $152.25 if we use Serangoon NeX to Orchard MRT as an illustration. Assuming the taxi driver works 23 days, his monthly income would be an astounding $3501.75!

Not forgetting the fact that taxi drivers are probably entitled to the below mentioned benefits as taken from Comfort Delgro’s website!

1. Personal Accident Insurance
In the event of death or permanent disablement within 12 calendar months of the accident, the Hirer or his/her beneficiary will receive a sum ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 depending on years of service.
2. Hospital and Surgical Insurance
Coverage of ward charges of up to B2 Ward and expenses incurred during hospitalisation are claimable up to the limit of $10,000 per disability.
3. Daily Hospital Income Insurance
Daily hospital income of $30 can be claimed for a hospital confinement period of up to a maximum of 52 weeks.Note: Please be reminded that all Insurance Claims must be submitted within 60 days following the date of discharge from the Hospital, Day Surgery of Accident.
4. No Claim Bonus
A No Claim Bonus of $200 per year will be given to Hirers who maintain an accident-free record.
5. Vehicle Incentive
An annual $100 to $500 cash incentive, depending on the age of the cab, will be given to all Hirers.
6. Loyalty Incentive
All Hirers will receive an annual $200 to $400 loyalty incentive, depending on the length of their service.
7. Performance Incentive
Hirers with good performance are entitled to an annual $500 Performance Incentive.
8. Three Rental-Free Days
A rental-free day will be given to all Hirers once every four months.
9. Subsidised Diesel Rate
All cabbies enjoy subsidised diesel rate when they pump diesel at any of the ComfortDelGro Engineering diesel kiosks.
10. Compassionate Leave
Hirers will be granted a 3-day rental waiver in the event of the demise of any member of their immediate family (spouse, children, parents and parent-in-laws).
11. Courtesy Taxi Scheme
A temporary replacement taxi will be arranged for cabbies whose taxis are involved in accident repair.
12. Study Achievement Awards for Hirers’ Children
Children of Hirers with more than one month of service are eligible for study achievement awards.
13. Easy Renewal of Taxi Vocational Licence
Taxi vocational licence can be easily renewed at the General Service Counters and Enhanced Administrative Centres.

Now, how many of us can earn that kind of income [$3501.75] a month? A poly graduate earns about $1,800 a month while a university graduate probably earns about $2,200 a month. Even a delivery/cargo drive don’t earn so much~! If I could, I might consider becoming a taxi driver but you know what? You can only be a taxi driver if you’re only 30 years old and above! What kind of rubbish policy is that?

And to make matters worst, I have experiences where the taxis are empty and the taxi driver just would not want to pick me up [and no, they are not changing shifts]. Have you also noticed? Taxis seem to be immune to traffic rules and regulations. I have been driving on the road for 3 years now and I have many near-miss encounters with errant drivers. So, is the taxi fare revisions justified? The answer is a big NO~! While our incomes are still stagnating, why should taxi drivers earn even more than us when they are already earning more than us?

mypaper [13 December 2011, Revised Fares Hit Cabbies’ Takings by Daryll Nanayakara]  reported that cabbies expect the situation to stabilise within the next two weeks, once passengers get used to the changes. Will we? I really wonder especially when peak surcharges are now taking place from Monday to Sundays, including Public Holidays from 6pm to midnight!

I say, we boycott the taxi companies, plan and prioritise our time wisely, and make full use of public buses and MRTs for now!


  1. Happy says:

    I think you forgot something… taxi rentals. It costs $90~$120 A DAY. Please do your research and calculations carefully again and let me know if you would still like to consider being a taxi driver.

      • Happy says:

        I guess I overlooked that part. Sorry for that and thanks for clearing things up. I found the calculations you did a little strange, as I know quite a number of taxi drivers and I’m pretty sure their income isn’t that high. In fact, much lower than a poly grad. Perhaps the 5.4 hours (needed for drivers to earn their keep) you mentioned may not be fully utilised as there might not be any passengers on the streets or there might be other encounters that leads to time wastage? Unless with good planning, I suppose that your calculations could be feasible but I highly doubt taxi drivers can plan their routes and pickups due to the unpredictable nature of their job.

      • Melvin says:

        Hi Happy,

        no worries, everyone of us have the right to comment and critique on cyberspace. =) I know a couple of taxi drivers too and well, from what I have gathered from them, they usually earn about $3000 on average during good times and probably about $2500 on average during bad times. The calculations that I did in the blog entry are based on assumptions and are what most people would call an ideal situation. In fact, I have personally heard from a particular taxi driver that the only reason why we don’t see most taxi drivers prospering is probably due to mismanagement of finances.

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