Photo from taxi photos

The Singapore government Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday (Jun 23) announced that they will double the current taxi operating licensing fees this year and triple it the next year. Taxi operators like SMRT and Transcab is currently paying 0.1% of their gross revenue as operating licensing fees, and will double the amount this year, and triple the amount next year in 2017.

For SMRT, this translates to about S$140,000 in costs for this year and another S$140,000 for the next, but it will likely be passed down to taxi drivers through rental increase. With rental increase, Singapore commuters will have to pay more for taxi services.

Taxi drivers now pay about S$100 a day in rental for the common Hyundai Sonata vehicles. These taxi drivers are fast losing out customers and private bookings to new car-sharing applications like Uber and Grabtaxi, and will likely lose out further in costs because the latter two companies do not need to pay operating licensing fees.

The move runs in contradiction with a “car-lite” society boasted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Private car owners are unlikely to see public transport as an option if costs and inconvenience become a deterrent.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and LTA is unavailable for comment. The Transport Ministry is now in a chaos as the Minister Khaw Boon Wan is currently busy with rising complains from frequent train breakdowns. COE prices were uncontrolled and the pricing just hit a 2016-high.