Photo from taxi photos

According to the announcement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday (Dec 18), taxi drivers in Singapore will no longer need to follow the minimum mileage and peak hour requirements due to the introduction of  Uber and GrabTaxi. Poised to be scrapped next month (Jan 2017), he minimum 250km daily mileage and availability during the peak periods were measures enacted in January 2013 to address the shortfall of taxis on the roads. Such rules are not applicable for private taxi drivers on car-sharing applications like GrabTaxi and Uber.

Failure to meet the government requirements would result in a fine and taxi drivers of major taxi companies like ComfortDelgro have been complaining about the unequal treatment for years. However, the government has been hesitant to act on the complains because the fines issued to both taxi drivers and taxi companies was a lucrative tax income estimated at around S$1 million a year. In Nov 2014, about S$150,000 total of fines were levied on SMRT, Prime and Premier. The government did not disclose any statistics on the fines levied on the taxi drivers.

Taxi drivers in Singapore are considered self-employed, and hence they are not entitled to medical benefits and annual leaves. Most of the taxi drivers in Singapore are elderly Singaporeans and they earn a reported tax income of between S$1,800 to S$2,500 after deduction of maintenance, insurance and other fringe costs.