Photo of TransCab from Lim Yaohui Straits Times

Singapore’s taxi industry is in a crisis with more Singaporean taxi drivers leaving the taxi companies to drive Uber and Grabtaxi. Major taxi companies like ComfortDelgro and TransCab have been hit by falling profits after an exodus of taxi drivers. TransCab today (Dec 29) announced that it will cut taxi rental rate by 34% – from S$90 a day to S$59.40 from 1 Jan 2017 onwards.

In a media interview, TransCab spokesperson said:

“Because of the competition from Uber and Grab, the taxi drivers’ incomes have been affected. It is also harder for them to find a relief driver… By reducing their rentals, they can earn more, in a sense.”

Transcab has 4,500 taxi vehicles and about 11% are sitting in their garage idle with no drivers. Premier Taxis refused to tell how many of their taxi vehicles are unhired, but an earlier state media report estimated the amount to be about 15%. As of October, a total of 2,000 taxi vehicles are unhired and idling in the yards.

Just 2 weeks ago, the Land Transport Authority announced that the minimum mileage and peak hours requirements will be lifted to level the playing ground for taxi drivers with Uber and GrabTaxi drivers. Uber and GrabTaxi drivers have better work-life balance and earn a higher income than companies-owned taxi drivers because of lower rental rates and requirements. A major advantage is that Uber and GrabTaxi drivers can own their own vehicles instead of forever renting like the other taxi drivers.