Disappearing Act by taxi drivers angered Commuters


It’s been the long time that I had written in the blog as I had concentrate my posting in my facebook. With the recent article in the straits times, It probe me to continue writing here.

The articles: Are taxis doing a “disappearing act” just before peak-hour surcharges kick in? Or is it simply a case of demand outstripping supply? What are the ways to improve taxi availability? 

What the report said have some valid points. Commuters and Taxi Drivers have their own point of views.

On the commuters’ side, It’s a pain in the neck during these hours:
1) 7.30am to 10.30am (Monday to Friday except Public Holidays)
2) 5pm till 7.30pm (Monday to Friday except Public Holidays)
3) 9.30pm till 10.45pm (Everyday)
4) 9am till 6pm (Weekends and Holidays)

Why is it pain in the neck during this hours mention above? The only reason that I can offer is, everyone needs a taxi during these hours. Remember, there are currently only about 28,000 taxi plying the roads daily.

Assuming 5% of the population looking for a taxi at these timing, 250,000 commuters are looking for taxi. How many can the taxi take a one go? There is always a timing that the commuters are expected to wait a longer than usual before boarding a taxi, coupled with traffic conditions that taxi drivers have to navigate through.

Being a taxi driver for the last three years, it taught me lots of things and I learn from the trade. The few problems that are causing the slow turnovers in my own perspective view are the followings:

1) Uneven geographical location for taxis. Higher demand in the Housing estate going to CBD or industrial estate, resulting shortage of taxi in the estate further away from the mentioned locations. In the evening, higher demand is on the opposite, higher demand in the CBD and Industrial estate. The government had in facts trying to distribute out the prime location to different areas like IBP, CBP etc, but the taxi drivers are not benefiting is as yet. And sorry, I had been digging my brains for the past one year and I had failed to offer any solutions on this problem yet.

2) LTA had a rule or law that requires Taxi Drivers to follow the commuters instructions on which route to take or take the shortest possible route.  This rule comes about is to ensure that taxi drivers do not take a longer route in order earn the extra dollars which I fully agrees. But this rules might not be applicable during the peak hours as there are jam along the route which resulted in slower turnover of the taxis or taxi being caught in the jam. Sometime by taking a longer route which will enable the commuters reaching the destination faster and sometime cheaper (based on the commuters that commented on the route I had taken).

Due to this rule, taxi drivers are afraid to make any recommendation to their commuters for afraid that they will complain against him especially the CDG Drivers. They will just follow the instruction given. Being caught in the jam will cost the commuters to pay more while taxi drivers earning less.

To solved this problem, the rules should be amended to the following:  Taxi Drivers to follow the commuters instructions on which route to take or take the shortest possible route, suggest whichever possible route to get to the commuters’ destinations.

3) The third reason which I’m going to give might anger some taxi drivers, but I need to be fair on the commuters side too… Master your trade well and you should know where to find commuters in the shortest possible time even in the middle of the night. Take pride with what you do and offer no regrets. New Drivers, do not over depend on GPS and know your route as fast as possible.

Taxi drivers are self employed, they do want to earn the highest possible return in the shortest possible time. It’s the same in any trade, the boss would want to earn the most with the least cost and wages. Commuters, please put yourself in the taxi drivers’ shoe and you will understand why.

Lastly, public transports infrastructure needed to ramp up as fast as possible. With better public transport infrastructure, people will tend to drive less and less traffic congestion on the road which will offer the best solutions for everyone.

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One thought on “Disappearing Act by taxi drivers angered Commuters

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 15 Sep 2014 | The Singapore Daily

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