Taxicabs of Singapore
Taxicabs are a popular form of public transport in the compact city state of Singapore, with fares considered relatively low compared to those in most cities in developed countries. There is a total fleet of 25,176 taxis operated by eight taxi companies and independent drivers in May 2010 , collectively completing 588,632 trips daily across the island in June 2005 .
Taxis may be flagged down at any time of the day along any public road outside of the Central Business District (CBD). Issues of high traffic and demand in certain locations and areas, particularly in the downtown area and other major buildings and establishments around the island, require the building of taxi stands. As taxis may conversely be harder to obtain in less densely populated areas, as well as to meet the needs of time-sensitive users, taxis may be booked via telephone or through the internet for a fee, which is then transmitted to individual taxis via a Global Positioning System or digital voice dispatch.
In peak travel times, which in the evening starts at 4PM due to shift changes through to 8 PM it is virtually impossible to book a taxi, outside of peak travel times booking is advisable. During peak travel times, it is extremely difficult and not recommended to rely upon taxi travel, either travel out of peak or risk the MRT. Booking during peak travel times can be frustrating, the system instructs the caller to hang up and await SMS confirmation - usually in peak demand time following a 7–10 minute wait the caller will receive an sms stating that there are no taxis currently available and that they should try again in 10 minutes, this can be repeated several times up to 10 attempted bookings in an hour, at which point the caller is barred from trying to book a cab for at least the remainder of that hour.
Stringent requirements ensure that all taxis are fitted with meters and are air-conditioned and serviceable. Drivers who fail to utilise their meters may be fined up to S$500, an enforced rule which brings fare disputes down to a minimum. About 90% of taxis have inbuilt AM radio communications.
Taxis are predominantly operated by large companies, which require a Taxi Operator Licence (TOL) from the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Holders of the TOL are required to comply with LTA's Quality of Service (QoS) standards, codes of practice and audit directions, failure of which the LTA may revoke the licence. There are six companies holding the TOL currently, namely:
|Holding company||Taxi company||Brand||Dominant
Singapore Technologies Kinetics
|ComfortDelGro Corporation||Comfort Transportation||Comfort||Blue||10592||1970|||
|Premier Rent A Car||Premier Taxis||Silvercab||Silver||2016||2004|||
|SMRT Corporation||SMRT Taxis||SMRT Taxis||White||3112||1989|||
|Union Energy||Transcab Services||TransCab||Red
|Prime Car Rental & Taxi Services||Prime Taxis||Prime||Copper||962||2007|||
^Including 505 individual Yellow-Top taxis
Although there are six cab companies, CityCab, Comfort are part of a single company, ComfortDelGro. Comfort DelGro Yellow-Top taxis has ceased to exist in October 2007. A further 396 taxis are run by individual owners of their vehicles. These taxis are required to be replaced every eight years, or they may choose to have their licence acquired by Yellow-Top Cab and become a hirer of the taxi company. These taxis are expected to eventually cease to exist, however, as all new taxi drivers are required to hire their taxis from any of the TOL holders.
All taxi drivers in Singapore are required to hold a valid Taxi Driver's Vocational Licence (TDVL) issued by the Land Transport Authority, after having met basic pre-requisites and successfully completed a training course in the Singapore Taxi Academy and passing a theory test. Holders of the licence may then approach any of the seven TOL holding companies to hire a taxi on a daily rental basis, the rental rate and associated benefits of which varies between the various companies. As at May 2010, there were a total of 91,230 TDVL holders in Singapore.
Fares on Singapore's taxis are considered[by whom?] relatively affordable, and are thus a popular form of public transportation in Singapore, particularly for the upper-middle income groups. Taxi fares were regulated by the Public Transport Council until September 1998 to allow operators full freedom in setting their own fares in a bid to introduce greater competition in the market.
In July 2006, ComfortDelGro raised fares for all three operators under its umbrella, and SMRT Taxis and TransCab followed suit . Premier Taxis adjusted its fares differently by only increasing some fare components, while SmartCab chose not to raise its fares at all, resulting in the most marked price differentiation between the companies since deregulation in 1998. One month later, it was reported that these fare adjustments had resulted in a drop of up to 20% in earnings for taxi drivers.
All taxi fares are metered, and it is an offence for taxi drivers to disable, tamper with, or fail to use their metering devices. Drivers found guilty may be fined up to S$500.
On 10 December 2007, ComfortDelGro announced another revision in fares with increases ranging from 10 to 49%, due for implementation by 17 December 2007. It called on other taxi companies to follow its fare structure "as soon as possible". On 11 July 2008, ComfortDelGro announced the implementation of a $0.30 fuel surcharge starting from 17 July. Other taxi companies except Prime Taxis followed suit with different implementation dates.
On 5 December 2011, ComfortDelGro announced a second revision in fares with increases by 20 cents and 70 cents.
|Fares and surcharges||CityCab, Comfort, Yellow-Top Cab
TransCab, SMRT Taxis
|Premier Taxis, Prime Taxi|
|Flagdown fare||S$3.00 (Toyota Crown) or $3.20 (Hyundai Sonata and Kia Magentis) or $3.40 (Toyota Wish[TransCab] ) or $3.60 (Hyundai i40, Chevrolet Epica, Kia Optima and Toyota Prius) or $3.50 (Toyota Camry and Skoda) or $3.90 (Limousine) (≤ 1 km)¹|
|Meter fare||S$0.22 (Normal Taxi & SMRT Taxis Limosine) or $0.33 (Limousine) or $0.33 (Toyota Vellfire and Chrysler) (eviioo> 1 km and ≤ 10 km)
S$0.22 or $0.28 or $0.33 (every 350 m thereafter or less > 10 km)
|Waiting||S$0.22 (every 45 seconds or less)|
|Booking||S$2.90 or $3.30 or $9.00 (current)
S$5.70 or $8.00 or $16.50 (advance)
|Peak hours²||25% of metered fare (Monday to Friday 0600 - 0930 and whole-day 1800 – 0000 hours)|
|Late night||50% of metered fare (0000 – 0559 hours)|
|CBD (including Marina Bay Sands)||S$3.00 (1700 – 0000 hours)|
|Locations||S$4.50 (Singapore Changi Airport: Friday - Sunday from 1700 to 0000 hours)
S$3.00 (Singapore Changi Airport: all other times)
S$3.00 (Seletar Airport)
S$3.00 (Resorts World Sentosa)
S$2.00 (Singapore Expo)
¹ - Higher flag-down rates for certain models. ² - Not applicable on public holidays
All Electronic Road Pricing charges incurred on the trip are to be borne by the customer. An additional 10% administrative charge on the total fare is also incurred when payment is made on credit or charge cards. Higher fares apply for premium taxi services that employ premium vehicles, such as CityCab's LimoCab and MaxiCab, Yellow-Top Cab's Sovereign limousines, SMRT's SPACE,Prestige and London Taxi, and Airport Transfer service, and so on.
In 1966, the first diesel Yellow-Top taxi was the Mercedes Benz 180 followed by the Austin Cambridge A60, Morris Oxford and Wolseley 16/60 during of the era. In 1970's there was Mercedes Benz W114/W115. The Austin Cambridge A60 and Morris Oxford continued until the early 1980s followed by models of the Opel Rekord D, Peugeot 504, Morris Marina and the Russian made model Volga Gaz 24.
In the middle 1980's, the staple vehicles for all operators were the Toyota Crown, Nissan Cedric and Isuzu Florian. These were stripped-down versions of their Japanese luxury-car siblings, with an emphasis on operating costs over comfort. Cheap plastic fittings and PVC seats replaced materials such as wood and leather, insulation was removed to save weight, and early generation diesel engines replaced the original petrol units. The resulting vehicles were simple to maintain and extremely reliable, but were lacking in comfort, with very high levels of NVH.
The move by various operators to various makes and models of premium vehicles came largely as a result of Euro IV regulations, which came into effect in late 2006. The older diesel engines in the Crown and Cedric are unable to meet the new emissions standards, and these taxis will no longer be offered for sale.
The newer taxicabs benefit from vastly improved interiors and more advanced engines with lower emissions and noise levels, which used to be the preserve of the premium Mercedes-Benz "limousine" services.
ComfortDelgro announced it would acquire a fleet of 2,400 Hyundai Sonatas in November 2007 over the next 2 years for its subsidiaries Comfort and Citycab, during which period they will enjoy exclusive rights from the distributor for using the type as a taxicab.
All taxicabs in Singapore have to pay the much higher road tax applied to diesel-powered passenger cars, which was intended to deter people from using diesel-powered vehicles for private use. This road tax bill is footed by the taxi company (except for STTA taxis), and can be as high as S$6,300 annually. However, some operators are trialling vehicles powered by natural gas, which are not only exempted from diesel taxes, but are also given waivers on road tax intended to offset the higher cost of ownership and to make them more attractive for the early adoptors of the cleaner vehicles. Taxicab models used in Singapore are mostly Korean-made, followed by Japanese and others.
Currently, the following vehicle makes and models are in use:
ComfortDelgro Comfort Taxis (10984 cabs)
- Hyundai Sonata CRDi
- Toyota Crown
- Hyundai i40
- Mercedes-Benz E200 (LimoCab)
- Mercedes-Benz Vito and Viano (MaxiCab)
ComfortDelgro CityCab (5566 cabs)
SMRT Taxis (3004 cabs)
- Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI (Prestige)
- SsangYong Rodius SV270 XDI (Space: 7-seater)
- Hyundai Azera CNG
- Chevrolet Epica(also called Daewoo Tosca)
- Chrysler 300C
- Toyota Crown Deregistering
- Toyota Prius (Newest Addition)
- LTI London Cab (30 cabs)
Union Energy Corporation TransCab (5602 cabs) (Acquired SMART cab fleet)
- Toyota Wish CNG
- Chevrolet Epica (also called Daewoo Tosca)
- Toyota Crown
- Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI (Dynasty)
- Renault Latitude (also called Renault Samsung SM5)
- Toyota Vellfire (Dynasty)
- Mercedes-Benz E200 NGT, natural gas/petrol bi-fuel (Supreme)
- Volkswagen Touran 1.9 TDI PD
- Toyota Camry JDM, Natural Gas
- Kia Carnival
Premier Taxis SilverCab (2988 cabs)
- Kia Magentis CRDI
- Kia Optima
- Hyundai i30 Manual
- Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI (Silverstar)
- Skoda Superb
- Toyota Crown
- Toyota Wish CNG
- Kia Carnival
- Mercedes Benz E220 Platinum by Premier Taxis
Prime Taxis (962 cabs)
- Toyota Allion
- Toyota Axio CNG
- Toyota Camry CNG
- Toyota Fielder CNG
- Toyota Premio
- Toyota Estima
- Toyota Prius, plug-in hybrid
- Toyota Wish 5-Seater and 7-Seater CNG
- Toyota Vellfire 7 Seater Taxi (Hybrid)
- Honda Airwave CNG
- Honda Fit
- Honda Freed
- Honda Stream CNG
- Hyundai Avante
Yellow-Top Taxis (Privately-Owned)
- Toyota Crown
- Fiat Croma
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota Hilux
- Honda Stream
- Hyundai Elantra (Newest Addition)
- Toyota Prius (Newest Addition)
- Toyota Wish
- Toyota Axio
- Toyota Avensis (Newest Addition)
- Toyota Fielder
- Toyota Picnic
- Chery J3
- Chery V5
eBustop Mega-cab (privately owned)
All of these vehicles (except for MPV taxis) seat 4 passengers unless otherwise stated. Passengers are required by law to wear seat belts.
14. Honda Airwave Prime taxi
- ComfortDelGro taxis to impose 30-cent surcharge from July 17
- "Taxi Info for LTA Website 2008". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Taxis in Singapore.|
- Taxi Singapore
- Limo Service Singapore
- Singapore Ministry of Transport
- The Singapore Taxi Experience Think Singapore, Ieuan Dolby
- TripSum @ Xeesa Online Fuel/ERP/Taxi fare calculator with taxi surcharges and ERP charges.
- Worldtaximeter - Taxi fare calculator in Singapore
- Singapore Maxicab booking - 7 or 13 seater Maxi Cab in Singapore
- Maxi Cab - an alternative choice for group commuting
- Private Limousine Services - an alternative to public cab for busy business executives
- Airport Transfer Services - a safe and comfortable way to get to your destination from the Changi airport
- NUS research on the difficulties in booking a taxi in Singapore - Retrieved 2013-11-10