After spending S$642 million acquiring the Uber’s arm Lion City Holdings to access the use of Uber, ComfortDelgro taxi drivers are not using the dynamic pricing function offered by Uber. According to Uber, 30% of the ComfortDelgro taxi drivers who signed up dropped out within a week since it’s launch on Jan 19.
ComfortDelgro taxi drivers told state media reporters that the Uber app lowered their earnings by as much as 30%. According to a taxi driver, the trip from Chua Chu Kang to Changi Airport, was S$22 on UberFlash, S$6 lower than the usual metered fare. The profit is then further reduced by 10% for Uber’s commission. Two drivers told state media Todayonline:
“The fares are too low … I believe ComfortDelGro is trying to gain market share, but at the expense of the driver.”
“It’s ridiculous to drive more for less… We’re just lowering the whole market price. It’s a price war.”
“The daily S$5 rebate for using Uber is kind of lame.”
Another driver said that he had to drive three Uber bookings for the profit of one street pickup.
When contacted by the media, Uber and ComfortDelgro went into denial mode. A general manager at Uber Singapore twisted the 30% drop-out rate and said: “About 70% of the ComfortDelGro drivers who signed up for UberFlash are using it. This indicated a “positive adoption of the product.”
ComfortDelgro contradicted itself and refused to comment on the drop in daily earnings for drivers:
“We are focused on helping its drivers maximise their earning potential, and keeping fares as affordable as possible for passengers. We realise that these two may seem contradictory but they don’t necessarily have to be. If our cabbies get more jobs, they will be able to increase their daily takings even if prices do not increase. This is why we are constantly looking at ways to increase the number of jobs available to our drivers. With dynamic pricing, fares fluctuate depending on demand. Feedback from our drivers is important and we will continue to engage them together with Uber to improve the overall driving experience.”