Ban Uber Taxi in Singapore


Dear Minister Lui,

I’m a full-time taxi driver and I would like to share with you my concerned about Uber limousine Taxi into Singapore market.

Uber had come into Singapore market since 2013, catering services that offer high-end limousine services to their member. Lately, they started their new UberX which cater to the standardise taxi limousine.

In the newspaper report, they had highlight that they do not infringe the LTA rules as they cater to their “Member” only. So What are their so-called members? Members are those who just registered in the Apps and instantly becomes their member. It’s like a wolf in a sheep clothing.

The main concern that I have is as follows:

  1. Private limousine should not charge by meter but rather they should be charged a flat fee. Why are they allowed to charge based on meter which is no different from our local taxi, be it standard taxi or limousine taxi?

  2. Anyone can become a Uber driver so long they have a valid insurance to have commercial coverage. So where is the service standard that we are looking at? Anyone without a valid vocational license can become a Uber driver so long they are registered with Uber. This lead to another question: Is the LTA is the main authority to allow who can drive a taxi in Singapore or Uber are the authority?

    This will give taxi driver want-to-be no incentive to get the vocational license if they can drive one without having the license.

  3. The re-surfacing of pirate taxi! With the private car enable to pick up commuters, how can the commuters knows if they are genuine taxi drivers, there will bound to have some driver taking the risk picking commuters without proper insurance coverage just like early 80s.

  4. Bad Taxi service without proper control will create free for all to pick up commuters off the roads.

  5. Protect the only jobs for Singaporean only!

    As a displaced PMET, driving a taxi is one of the last resort that we have to survive in today high cost of living in Singapore, With Uber Taxi services, apart from Singaporean can drive, they allowed PR as their limousine Taxi driver as well.

    If this is the direction the government that heading, the only Singaporean job will be at risk! What can those other misplaced PMET going to do is there isn’t anymore taxi driving as the last resort?

    This is going to reflect badly towards the government caring towards Singaporean!

  6. Negative image of Singapore will be presented to Tourist. While we are known to have strict regulations, nothing is done with this instant. How would the tourists feel if the they take a private vehicle as taxi?

  7. How accurate the meter can be? Although it goes according to the GPS via their phone applications, LTA have no control of how the meter has been charged, will the commuters fairly over charged will be unknown.

  8. The last of the concern is for all commuters! The Safety of the commuters.

    With LTA have not authority on who UBER engaged, effectively those former taxi driver who had been revoked of the taxi vocational license can continue to ply their trade via UBER. Current Taxi Driver with valid vocational license will conduct themselves well as their vocational license is at stake. But nothing can be say so if it is from private taxi.

With France, Belgium, Germany and England, in United States (Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago), they have banned or having the intention of banning UBER and other private taxi which do not have the regulation control of the taxi drivers. It has brought unfair advantage of those unlicensed taxi drivers over those license drivers.

With the above concern that I have highlighted, I hoped that your good ministry will take a proper stand on this issue. Any misstep by your good ministry will create chaos in the public transport system that the government had built up over the years.

Note: This email will be cc to The Online Citizen, TR Emeritus, The Real Singapore and LTA

Is the Taxi Booking Landscape in Singapore going for a major reform?


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Two Apps have appear into Singapore Taxi Booking systems, namely the Easy Taxi and Grab Taxi. They allowed commuters to book the taxi via their apps, taxi drivers to get their booking who have sign up with the company.

These two company comes to Singapore with a big bang! How are they going to affect the taxi booking landscape in Singapore? This is everybody guess… Let me as a Taxi driver as well as commuters (on weekends) see the apps in my view.

Let me starts off with the application as a commuter:

Easy Taxi

Not very user-friendly, give up trying to use the apps after a few attempts. Currently, commuters do no need to pay booking charges to the driver as now they are having promotion.

Grab Taxi

A far more user-friendly apps which allow us to see how many taxi available in the area, see how many taxi bidding for the our job, track the location of the taxi that have successfully bided our job. Two Way communication is made available as driver’s mobile number is shown to the commuters.

As I have limited usage as a commuter, I would leave other users who often use the apps to post the comments in my blog on the apps.

Right now, as a taxi driver, I use the apps every day to get extra jobs for myself. I will touch on each individual apps that I have used.

Easy Taxi – Drivers

Easy to use as almost guarantee that the job will be yours if accept it. It’s currently offer driver SGD $5 per job completed. IT can be used on Andriod Only. Currently it does not charge any fee to drivers to take up their booking.

The downside of the apps are as follows:

1. The job offered can be as far as 8Km away which is not very practical in Singapore. It might be useful in area like Tuas, Jurong Island & Loyang area but not in town area.

2. Nothing to complain about except that their promotion and marketing are lagging behind Grab Taxi, thus we driver concentrate on Grab Taxi then Easy Taxi (will explain in detail later).

Grab Taxi – Drivers

Currently available in Andriod Phone only. With all the happening going on, I’m using Iphone which is not available, make me purchase a cheap Hua Wei Andriod phone to test out how good the Apps is.

To encourage drivers to take up their booking, they are having a promotion now for the drivers till 2nd March 2014, on top of the booking charge payable by commuters :

1. Make twelve booking in a week will receive a bonus of SGD $88.

2. Additional payment of $9 for taking booking during their declared peak hours while non peak entitle the drivers SGD $6.

Due to the promotion they are having now, commuters are able to book a taxi easily as a lot of taxi are going after the extra payment by the Grab Taxi.

In general, their Apps are quite easy to use and they only charge SGD $0.30 per booking completed.

Due to the popular demand from Commuters, there are also some improvement can be enhance on. Based on my two weeks experience using their Apps, the following concern which I hoped that Grab Taxi can improved on:

1. With increase number of booking during peak hours, the refreshing rate can be as fast as less than quarter of a second, this happen to me on the first friday evening (14 Feb 2014). We driver will not able to see where is the booking from.

2. When drivers bid for a job, drivers might need to wait for up to 15 seconds to see if they had successfully bid for the job. This is a potential hazard for taxi drivers as they might not know which direction they should be heading to.

3. Booking usually confirm to the nearest taxi driver (eg 0.1km).

The above mention concern could be improved as follows (in my view):

i. Despatch booking to only certain number (say 5 taxi drivers) and this can increase the number of confirmation booking at a short period.

ii. Instead of using shortest possible distance, use a radius of 1km range  (increasing the range if no taxi drivers are not bidding for the job) to dispatch the booking.

iii. Fastest finger gets rule. This can almost give shortest possible time confirmation to the commuters and taxi drivers.

4. We taxi driver are constantly on the road and booking offer comes, we need to double confirm the booking thus it created a road hazard for the taxi driver. Thus suggesting that confirmation of acceptance of the job should be made once only not twice.

Now having saying the pro and con of the Apps from Easy Taxi and Grab Taxi, how would these two Apps affecting the landscape of the taxi booking system in Singapore?

Well, as of the current system, with no extra incentives to the taxi driver, whichever booking comes first from the company booking or the Apps booking, the taxi driver will take it. That is to say, most of the time, Comfort or SMRT booking system will always comes first before the Apps booking comes. Thus there are chances that the drivers taking Apps booking will be greatly reduced. Unless the driver are so sensitive to the charges the company levied SGD$0.30 from Grab Taxi compared to SGD $0.40 from Comfort or SGD $0.50 from SMRT. But however, those taxi driver from other taxi company apart from Comfort or SMRT will continue to use the Apps as their company taxi booking is very limited.

How the landscape is going to changed is very much depend on the commuters and taxi drivers. How supportive they are towards the Apps. Also, how the Apps going to impact on the revenue of the taxi companies, how much decrease of their revenue, what kind of counter measure are they going to take? Would they be forced to combine forces and create an integrated booking system? All the answer will be known after the taxi start to report their earning or any counter measure they have made.

In conclusion, I would very much support the Apps and in line with what I had previously blogged. It definitely will help to decrease the monopoly of certain taxi company thus resulting better benefit for the taxi drivers as well as the commuters.

Lastly, I would like to see a direct competition from the Apps company by offering direct call centre to engage the commuters who wants to book a taxi through them. Engaged LTA to have the Apps address printed on all the Taxi Stand so that commuters can know how to book the taxi through their Apps and it could gain recognition from the authority as well.

I would write another blog on how the situation after all incentive ends for the two Apps.

You be my Judge! Am I unfair to certain Taxi Company in my Blog?


In my earlier post, Why taxi always not there when we need one? I covered on the various possible reasons of why taxis are always not around when passengers want to flag a taxi.

A guest by the moniker of  had made a comment on the post and this is what the person said:

“What do you think that the cabby spend time and fuel to drive all the way into Tanjong Rhu for? Would mrnewbird or other Smrt drivers perform this charity act when they are nearby Tanjoing Rhu? Without the call charge, he could get a pax in the estate nearby easily after morning peak hour, ie. Old Airport and Kampong Arang.”

@mrnewbird u don’t have to target other cab coy to try to earn a living driving Smrt. and dun smoke gullible commuters with the 1 million people call city/comfort at the same time analogy. that number is more like in a day than at the same moment.”

I would like to make a reply on this and share my views on his comments. This is exactly the sad state of taxi drivers today.

On one hand, some taxi drivers have tons of call bookings while others have to even struggle to get just one. For one taxi driver from Comfort whom I have known, he picks up his customers only through call booking,  and if there isn’t any call booking, he would lost on where to get his passengers. Another taxi driver from the same company with more than 10 years of experience mentioned to me that  he used to wait for call booking until one of the senior driver shared with him that if he simply just wait for call bookings, he is heading for doom. He hail the senior driver’s words and he has been since treating call bookings as a bonus and not a necessity.

For one, refusing to pick up a passenger, the taxi drivers are actually infringing the regulation of LTA (Link). He will be fined $300 along with 6 demerit points under the rule of “Refusing, without reasonable excuse, to hire out taxi or to convey passenger”.

For an experienced driver, one would choose to go to Tg Rhu or Meyer Road after exiting Ford Road via ECP other than other places due to 2 reasons:

1) Shorter empty taxi cruising time 2) higher demand for Taxi in these 2 areas compare to other area nearby.

When there is no call booking, one should pick up a passenger if there is one, thus minimising the empty taxi cruising time.

Quoting from my personal experience, an example would be waiting for call at the taxi stop behind “The Sail”, due to lack of customers, there is lots of taxis driving around. There was a time when I took a passenger and came back to the same place 10 minutes later, he was still there.

The moral of the story is, don’t overly depend on call booking only for taxi drivers especially the new ones.

In my earlier post, I had mentioned that Single Booking System is the way to go. The advantages are as follows:

i) Commuters just need to call a common line that dispatch the booking to all taxi in the surrounding area. This will save the trouble for commuters to call different companies at the same time.

ii) With Single Booking system, drivers do not necessary need to go to a certain companies to ensure job availability to them, thus there won’t be any monopoly by certain taxi companies. This will create a competition among taxi companies to hold-on to the driver (thus giving them better benefit to retain them), lowering down the daily taxi rental.

iii) Taxi Drivers will no longer think that they definitely will have call bookings for them when they reach a destination. Thus more motivated to pick up passenger on the street.

Lastly, my personal rebuttal:

I do not need to target other coy earn a living driving SMRT. For those who know me, especially Taxi Drivers, knows that I earn a pretty decent money, on top of that, advising other new drivers on how to ply the trade with integrity.

All taxi coys have their good and bad. I do not target them unfairly, rather I’m just speaking out what I feel that can help the commuters. If you had follow my blogs, you should have read that I have ask commuters to call not just SMRT taxis but other taxi coy like Trans-Cab as well.

Analogy is always analogy, it’s up to people to believe it or not until they give it a try. If you took offence to it, I’m sorry, but I’m just speaking out from my personal experience.

I’s up to people to judge if I’m getting personal on this issue or I’m just speaking out to help them.

Think before you drink and drive


Last Sunday, a BMW crash into a lorry injuring nine people in PIE. Read the full story here.

Here, I ‘m not going to write about the incident, but about the accident that affect the 25-year-old BMW driver.

1) countless of sleepless night

2) pending court case with a possible jail term and ban from driving

3) May be declared a bankrupt, due to loss of his vehicle, the compensation to the injured people etc.

4) Career Gone if going to jail.

With the above affecting the BMW driver, I urge people to want to drink and drive to think twice. Take public transport and don’t endanger yourself or others. Be a responsible driver.