Why should Singaporeans Boycott Uber, UberX or Uber Taxi?


With past couple of weeks with Uber company offering free rides under UberX or Uber Taxi, Consumers were delighted that they were able to get two free rides a day. While  the drivers for UberX and Taxis are happily earning to the max.

It brought cheers to consumers and drivers, but there are some angry passengers too. They couldn’t get a free ride after trying to get one after 45 minutes. It’s just a marketing strategy by Uber to market their services to the Singapore consumers.

Let’s get back to reality, here are a list of concern that Singaporeans should think about before using their services again.

1) Credit card information – While the credit card details are stored in the Uber data storage which might be prone by hackers

2) Global Position System (GPS) – Your traveling pattern will be known to unknown as Uber is using GPS to track where your journey starts and ends. Thus disclosing your location to unknown sources.

3) Credit card payment – The payment terminal is not located in Singapore but in United States where you might suffered exchange loss. Right now there isn’t significant different as they are still offering 25% discount on your taxi rides.

4) Unethical ways of doing business

I) Seeking customers to release details of  which taxi drivers and their contact who do not sign up with Uber. While it’s no wrong to share the good things to others, but it’s wrong to share our contact to other people without our permission. It’s the same that as a taxi driver, we do not send out passenger contact details to third parties. It’s the privacy of our rights that the contact must be kept confidential at all times.

II) Which ever taxi drivers that took up their free IPhone and their jobs, received a call from Uber that they are not allowed to use other third parties apps and are told to delete them off. Who are they to mind our business which apps taxi drivers use since they do not have any legal document that say that taxi drivers are not allowed to use other apps. This also create an anti-competition act in Singapore!

5) Most Importantly, Why we Singaporeans should boycott Uber?

While the government are not allowed to ban Uber outright due to the free trade agreement, but What I’m seeking is changing the business model of Uber and UberX which is using metered-charged system (I have previously mention in my blog).

The company comes here to earn money in Singapore without any employment benefit to Singaporeans. Yes they have Singaporean on the ground to run the promotion and signing up drivers. But once they have establish themselves in Singapore, all these job are made redundant. For your information, even their telephone operators are foreigners based overseas, using internet to contact drivers and customers. In other words, their company is nothing but an empty shell in Singapore.

While we welcome foreign companies to set-up their business in Singapore, we need to see economic growth and employment benefit for Singapore. Without any employment benefit to Singaporeans, what the use to welcome this type of company to operate in Singapore? I would rather don’t welcome them at all!

The choice is yours, nobody is stopping you from using Uber! But think again, if any company that comes to Singapore to start business without any employment benefit to Singaporeans, then there will be no job for Singaporeans in the future.

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.

Little India Riot Aftermath


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It’s a sad day for Singapore. First Rioting case in 44 years. What cause the riots is everybody’s guess now! Let’s not get into what causes the riot as police investigations are under way now. Till then, let’s us not do the guessing game.

As the dust had settle since, let’s us take a look back on the ground sentiments. For some, anguish,fearful on the extend of the riots. Some are so happy that it’s happens saying it’s a wake up call for the PAP.

For those anguish, fearful. Everyone of us will have the same feeling as you. How can a peaceful nation, Singapore, suddenly having riots over an incident? How safe is Singapore now? Can we still be safe when we go out at night or alone? How can those rioters so disrespectful of our Singapore law? All these questions come into our mind.

For those who are happy, they talk about this is the result of the PAP for bringing in so much foreigners to support the economy.  It’s the failure of the PAP for this riot to happen!

During the riot, people are questioning some the reaction of the police and SCDF. To be fair to the civil servants on the ground, let me say a few fair statement for their reactions:

1) Policemen were seen running away from the angry mob.

  • They were outnumbered at that time. For anyone in that situation, whether you are the ground commander or the police in-charge will ask your man to retreat until enforcement arrives.
  • If the policemen who are outnumbered and continue to stay at the scene, who can ensure that their lives are safe?

2) SCDF Fire Engine Reversing and make a hasty exit from the scene.

  • What can the fire engine do if they stay at the scene? In order to protect the property and the safety of the SCDF personnel, it’s ony the right thing to do is to exit the scene as soon as possible. Let the correct man to do the job.

3) Why the Riot Police arrive so late

  • How fast do you expect the riot police to arrive? Almost immediately after the distress call? Let’s be fair, once button pressed, they need time to go to the scene and to me the response time is reasonable.

4) Why not a single shot fired at the mob?

  • Depend on situations. The mob start to run away once the riot police arrived. With the large number of the riot police around, and no more attacking against the officers on the ground, to fire a shot is an inhuman thing to do. For this, a well done move by the police force.

Let’s get back to the real issue. Minister had called us not to politicised the issue, but can we? Let me explain what’s the real issue leading to the riots (I’m not expert on this matter but giving my view).

  1. In recent years, mass importation of foreigners to our shore, be it expatriate or labour workers, had led to concave of their own people. They coming from different countries and have different culture that is different from us (how about different culture from different countries mixing together?), they don’t even want to integrate into our society. That’s where the tension starts to build up. (Do we see these type of tension when limited importation of foreigner workers?)
  2. Weak Labour Law had led to slavery state of these low-end workers. They do not have any mean of protection from the law against the errant employers and agents. Even when they in dispute with their employers awaiting outcome, they are not allowed to work to survive. Therefore, they do not have any area of letting out their frustrations.
  3. Many of the foreigners that work in Singapore comes from countries that riots are the common scene. It’s their natural behaviour when things turns ugly.

This will not be the one and the last incident to happen to Singapore. With the large importation of the foreigners, Are the Police, Arm Forces ready for more action in the future to come?

Lastly, I wish all injured have a speedy recovery, full punishment to those offender and do not let anyone scot-free.

Why taxi always not there when we need one?


Why taxi always not there when we need one?

In the recent telecast of Red Dot in channel 5, a scenario of a local taxi drought was covered in the episode. Indeed, it seem to have spoken some sense about the situation of the taxi industry in Singapore.

A summary of what the Red Dot had said in the program:

From 2002 to 2012, the population in Singapore increased by 27%, ridership of taxis increased with 16% while population of taxi increased 48%. But why are taxis still always not enough when we need one?

Accordingly to Terence Fan, Associate Professor of Strategic Management of Singapore Management University (SMU), cited the main reason of uneven geographical demand of taxi across Singapore.

In the program, it highlighted the following points:

  1. Why taxi drivers do not want to take calls
  2. Confusing fare structure
  3. Monopoly of the taxi industry by single company.
  4. Individual Booking System

I would attempt to give some insights to the issues highlighted in the program from the perspective of a taxi driver. 

Associate Professor Terence Fan had correctly pointed out the issue with uneven geographical demand of taxi across the island. The main destinations in the morning peak hours are industrial areas like Tuas, CBD Areas like Shenton Way. When we drop off the customer, we will leave the destinations without passengers and travel to the nearest residential area for another pick up.

As I have shared with a reporter before, the places of the least difficulty to get a taxi in the morning are: Jurong, Tampines, Pasir Ris, River Valley, Tiong Bahru, Redhill area, Geylang, Simei. While passengers in the other residential area will probably have difficulties in getting a taxi. Why?

The reason is very simple, say for example. I stay in Choa Chu Kang, when I start my shift and pick a customer to Shenton Way, would you think I would drive back to Choa Chu Kang to pick another customer? The answer is would likely be a ‘NO’ as we want to use the least amount of time to pick up another customer, thus driving to the nearest residential area is a more viable option to take. This results in the scenario of limited taxis in the other residential areas which are further from industrial and commercial areas.

As for the evening peak hours, majority of the customers are going home from industrial area and Central Business District (CBD). After dropping of the customer, only luck has it for us to pick up a customer from residential area, often than not, we will need to drive an empty taxi back to the area where there are more customers.

1) Why don’t taxi drivers pick up the call booking?

If you call for a booking for a pickup at the busstop/taxi stand or main road, likely they will assume you to hop onto an empty taxi to save the booking fee. Since there is no laws to says that customer must wait for the booked taxi to arrive. This hold true especially when it comes to places within electronic road pricing (ERP) areas.

A lot of times, commuters call us up (SMRT) when they couldn’t get hold of the taxi from comfort/citycabs. A lot of times, I would  relate to them the situation with an analogy:

If 1 million commuters are calling them (comfort/citycabs) at the same time, what would your success rate be even though they have more than 16,000 taxi on the road? You probably know the answer yourself.

2) Confusing Fare Structure

Indeed, the fare structure is very confusing with all the surcharges in different areas! Even myself being a taxi driver, I need to think hard on which taxi model does which fare structure. Let alone a common citizen or tourist as an end consumer. With the latest publications of confusing fare structure in the newspaper and TV program, are the taxi company gearing for a fare revision soon? Keeping my fingers crossed!

3) Monopoly by Single Company

As data have shown, currently Comfort/CityCabs is dominating the taxi industry with more than 60% of the total taxi population. Any fare increase/decrease is determined solely by this single company. This has an unhealthy effect to the competition in the industry. Moreover, LTA had put a cap on how much the taxi companies can increase the taxi fleet (that is 2% per year), which means no other taxi companies can really grow and have a head-on with Comfort Delgro in terms of its taxi fleet.

4) Single Booking System

As the programme have correctly pointed out, the current booking system the Land Transport Authority (LTA) have is just to have the phone booking by individual company, so the customer will have to call each company one by one to book for a taxi. A single booking system on the other hand covers all the taxi companies with a single phone call, every taxi in the surrounding area will be able to bid for the job, be it company A or company B or Company C.

With all the advantages towards solving the taxi booking system, there is one major road block in the way. The taxi companies which have a bigger booking pie will not want to go into the system as this would mean their profit from the call booking might decrease tremendously. Therefore in order to solve this situation, the only way out is through legislation by LTA.

In summary, the program did show a good in-depth look at the taxi industry in Singapore. However apart from the issues discussed, the service standard does need to be improved as well as the waiting time of the taxis. As a small note, I am expecting a fare revision soon as a prediction of mine.

For tips of how to hail a cab when you can’t find one. Read my blogposts

Tips on getting a taxi during peak hours and rainy days – part I

Tips on getting a taxi during peak hours and rainy days – part II

Indonesia put Singapore to shame on rules to protect locals.


Indonesia put Singapore to shame on rules to protect locals.

It is reported by Straits Times that Indonesia have come up it’s own version of the  Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) to have firms to hire locals before expats, barring 19 human resources-related position to be taken by expats in their country. (link)

While details are still being worked out, Indonesia’s Manpower Minister Muhaimin Iskandar have said that this policy seeks to get employers to consider an Indonesian candidate before a foreign one, especially for professional and managerial posts.

“Employers must ensure that each foreign hire has at least two local deputies or managers to whom he can transfer his expertise or skills. Companies have to explain why only a foreigner can fill the job vacancy and declared what skills and expertise he has that local does not have.”. – ST report

In Singapore, Ministry of Manpower in its press release on 23 Sept 2013 says that MOM expects all firms to consider Singaporeans fairly for jobs, based on merit. All firms are strongly encouraged to advertise their job vacancies and must ensure that jobs advertised are open to Singaporeans.

Changes implemented to the local hiring practice in the announced new framework are as follows:

  • Firms making new EP applications2 must advertise the job vacancy on a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA)3.  The advertisement must be open to Singaporeans, comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices4, and run for at least 14 calendar days.
  • These requirements must be met before an EP application is submitted to MOM. These new rules will come into effect on 1 August 2014.
  • Advertising on the jobs bank will benefit both employers and Singaporean job-seekers, as it facilitates better matching of vacancies with job-seekers. Employers will have access to a larger pool of potential candidates. It will also increase the visibility of job openings to all Singaporeans, and will help more to benefit from the better jobs created.

In comparison with Indonesia, Singapore merely requires that the companies must advertise in the jobs bank for at least 14 days before the advertisement can be publicly advertised while Indonesia followed Australia’s strict labor standards in employment policies to protect their local citizens.

With globalisation, many multinational companies are seeking to expand their bases world-wide.  Costs saving, ease of conducting business operations and a safe/stable environment to conduct business operations are their main considerations and not employing their fellow locals in the key positions.

With the ever-increasing numbers of foreigners coming to Singapore to work and companies setting up locally, the changes to manpower guidelines does nothing much but to only inconvenience the employers up to 14 days. After which they are pretty much free to hire foreigners or their own countrymen to work in Singapore at their own discreet.

Having said that, Ministry of Manpower (Singapore) might want to relook on their policies at making concrete changes in the employment policies to ensure that her citizens is given fair considerations for employment before giving the opportunity up to an expat.

It’s a real shame that Singapore had adopted a lesser approach of the manpower issues. Even if the Ministry of Manpower should adopt the same approach like Indonesia did, Singapore need not be worried that foreign investment will take a plunge as Singapore already possess the best attractions for any business that there is.

Special Thanks to The Online Citizen for editing.

Tips for getting a taxi during Formula One Singapore period


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Getting a Taxi is always a nightmare during the Singapore Formula 1 period. As a Taxi Driver, I would give tips and loopholes to get a taxi during the period.

Here we goes….

1) Let see a statement from LTA:

Non Operation of ERP Gantries during Race Week
As the ERP gantries may interfere with sensitive video transmission equipment used for the race, the following ERP gantries that are within the proximity of the race circuit will not be in operation. Vehicles going under these gantries during the specified dates and time will not be charged:

ERP Gantry

Non Operation Dates and Time

New Bridge Road

19 September (Thursday) & 20 September (Friday) between 6pm and 7pm

South Bridge Road
ECP (eastbound) from Ophir Road

19 September (Thursday) & 20 September (Friday) between 6pm and 8pm

Temasek Boulevard

19 September (Thursday) & 20 September (Friday) between 12pm and 8pm and 21 September (Saturday) between 12.30pm and 8pm

Republic Boulevard

What does tell us… during these period, since there is not ERP Surcharge, generally there are more taxi in the area, such as, Suntec and surrounding areas, Bugis Junction and surrounding areas & People Park Complex and surrounding areas.

Do note that expected jam is this area too… (please try to avoid if you are driving there)

2. Getting a taxi after the race

Getting a taxi is always a nightmare with thousands of people going for a few taxi in the area. To encourage taxi driver to go and pick up the customer, certain period and location will have additional surcharge of $5 as shown below:

F1 Taxi Stands/Hotel Driveways Time Period Location Surcharge of $5

20 Sep 13 10.30pm – Midnight

21 – 22 Sep 13  9.30pm – Midnight

• Taxi stands (C18/C19) at Suntec City Towers 1 & 2 and 3 & 4

• Taxi stand (C25) at Suntec Convention Centre

• Taxi stands (C20/C21) at Millenia Walk and Millenia Tower

• Taxi stand (C09) at Funan DigitaLife Mall

• Taxi stand (C08) at Peninsula Excelsior Hotel

• Taxi stand (E32) at Hitachi Tower

• Taxi stand (E13) at Straits Trading Building

• Temporary taxi stand at The Concourse along Nicoll Highway

• Hotel Driveways at Conrad Centennial, The Pan Pacific, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Mandarin Oriental and Marina Mandarin  • Hotel Driveways at Marina Bay Sands Casino, Marina Bay Sands MICE, Marina Bay Sands Towers 1 & 3

I will list down a few taxi stand/hotel in the area that does not carried surcharge which is within 200m of the designated taxi stand:

  • OUE Taxi Stand
  • Fullerton Hotel
  • Fullerton Bay Hotel
  • One Fullerton
  • UOB Center
  • UOB Plaza
  • Six Battery Road (Opp Straits Trading Taxi Stand)
  • One Marina Boulevard, One Raffles Quay, Marina Bay Financial Center, The Sail, John Hancock Building (these places that are more than 200m away)
  • Grand Park City Hall Hotel
  • Funan Center Taxi Stand along Hill Street
  • The Adelphi
  • The Treasury
  • Centennial Tower
  • Fairmont Hotel
  • Swissotel
  • Raffles City
  • Raffles Hotel
  • Shaw Tower Taxi Stand

Also along the road pickup should not carry any surcharge apart from the designated locations.

This year, one particular location had their surcharge removed: Indoor Stadium Taxi Stand. Generally public would take free shuttle bus to that location to take other mode of public transport.

Note: I generally will not be in the non-surcharge location (if you know what I meant).

In summary, I hoped that by listing down all the location that does not carry surcharge, public will able to get their taxi on the lower cost. But remember, you might wait a little longer for a taxi unless you call for one.

Wishing you a enjoyable weekend watching Formula One.