According to the latest transport statistic by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), taxi companies are seeing unhired taxi vehicles rate up to 5.9%, a rise from 4.2% in 2015. More than 1,620 unhired taxi vehicles are now sitting in the garages, and the total number of taxi on the road fell to 27,500 in 2016, from 28,300 in 2015.
Despite falling number of taxi drivers in Singapore, there are lesser complaints of unavailable taxi during peak hours than before. While taxi companies are complaining about losses, drivers and passengers are cheering. Taxi services demand is being fully met in Singapore, thanks to car sharing applications like Grab and Uber. Passengers get a cheaper deal from the applications as taxi surcharges do not apply.
Many taxi drivers turned to Grab and Uber because of lower rental and also the flexibility to use their own vehicles instead of renting one. A rental taxi vehicle cost around S$100 a day everyday, regardless if the driver is medically unfit to drive or resting.
Taxi companies are running into losses from the low take-up rate of taxis and this has pressured them into lowering rental costs by as much as 34% for one company.
Temasek Holdings-owned ComfortDelgro refuse to disclose its unhired taxi vehicle rate but it is estimated to be around TransCab’s 11% figure. The Singapore government gave the state-linked company a helping hand by removing the Minimum Mileage and peak hour requirement, but it’s help on ComfortDelgro remains insufficient.