Four major taxi companies – ComfortDelgro, Prime Taxi, Premier Taxis and Transcab – submitted an application to revise the pricing structure similar that of popular ride-sharing app Uber. The move will remove all time-based surcharges, which the taxi companies are complaining that it disadvantages them over Uber and GrabTaxi drivers.
Uber currently adopts a “surge” charge structure that changes in real time according to demand. The Uber pricing structure is cheaper than the mainstream taxi pricing for commuters, and Uber drivers take home more pay per ride as compared to mainstream taxi drivers. Thousands of mainstream taxi drivers have changed to drive for Uber and GrabTaxi, resulting in mainstream taxi companies seeing unhired taxi vehicles piling up in the company garage. According to media reports, the taxi companies saw idle rate as high as 10% of the taxi vehicle fleet.
Earlier this in January, SMRT taxis introduced part-time rental for their taxi vehicles, in a bid to attract drivers return to the company.
The Singapore government also introduced new protectionist measures against GrabTaxi and Uber, by creating a new regulatory regime demanding that all Uber drivers to be registered and pay additional fees instead of operating as self-employed.