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ComfortDelGro taxi flagdown fare to rise by 20 cents from March 1 amid higher fuel costs, inflation

SINGAPORE — From next month, passengers of Singapore’s largest taxi operator will have to pay higher fares as the firm makes its first fare adjustment since late 2011 to help its drivers defray higher fuel costs and inflation.

ComfortDelGro taxi flagdown fare to rise by 20 cents from March 1 amid higher fuel costs, inflation
  • Flagdown fares will rise by 20 cents across ComfortDelGro's fleet of taxis
  • Distance-timed rates and waiting-time fees will also increase
  • The changes will kick in from March 1, 2022 at 6am
  • ComfortDelGro said the hike was aimed at boosting taxi drivers' earnings, which have been hit hard by rising fuel costs, inflation and the pandemic 

SINGAPORE — From next month, passengers of Singapore’s largest taxi operator will have to pay higher fares as the firm makes its first fare adjustment since late 2011 to help its drivers defray higher fuel costs and inflation.

Flagdown fares will increase by 20 cents across the firm's entire fleet of taxis from 6am on March 1, ComfortDelGro said on Tuesday (Feb 8). 

This means that the flagdown fare for a Hyundai i40 taxi will rise from S$3.70 to S$3.90.

For Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq and Kona taxis as well as LimoCabs and MaxiCabs, it will go up from S$3.90 to S$4.10.

For regular taxis, distance-timed rates will rise by two cents every 400m (or every 350m after 10km) and waiting-time fees will go up by two cents every 45 seconds.

For limousine taxis, the increase will be three cents for both distance-timed and waiting-time fees. 

For a 10km off-peak trip in a regular taxi, the changes will amount to an estimated 7.7 per cent increase in fares (or 84 cents) from S$10.98 to S$11.82.

Mr Jackson Chia, chief executive officer of ComfortDelGro Taxi and ComfortDelGro’s Private Mobility Group, said in a statement that taxi drivers’ earnings have been hit hard by rising fuel costs and inflation.

Fuel prices have risen by about 10 per cent on average in the last six months alone as economies around the world continue to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Singapore’s overall inflation is expected to come in at between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent in 2022. This was after the Monetary Authority of Singapore raised its forecast from between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent, in response to inflationary pressures on several fronts.

Mr Chia said: “Our cabbies’ welfare is important and, as a company, we have done the best we can to help them in the last two years, including extending daily rental waivers till now.

“Given that the last fare revision was more than a decade back, we seek the understanding and support of our commuters.”

CHANGES TO TAXI FARES

  • A 20-cent increase in flagdown fare across ComfortDelGro's entire taxi fleet
  • A two-cent increase for distance-timed rates from 22 cents to 24 cents for every 400m (or 350m after 10km) for regular taxis. For limousine taxis, the increase will be three cents
  • A two-cent increase from 22 cents to 24 cents for every 45 seconds of waiting time, and a three-cent increase for limousines
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ComfortDelGro said that in introducing the changes, it had considered that its taxi drivers' incomes have been hit badly by the Covid-19 crisis, even with government relief and the S$206.5 million worth of rental waivers the firm extended to taxi hirers since the start of pandemic.

The firm said that it had consulted the National Taxi Association before proposing these changes and the association was supportive of the fare adjustment.

Ms Yeo Wan Ling, adviser to the association, said in the same statement: “Our taxi drivers have been working tirelessly to make ends meet, especially over the past two years since the pandemic hit — grappling with low ridership numbers, increasing fuel costs and inflation.”

She added that the association is hoping the fare increases would help drivers better cope with rising costs.

Mr Ivan Ho, a 49-year-old taxi driver who has been with ComfortDelGro for eight years, said in the statement that he is looking forward to the fare adjustment.

“It’s long overdue,” he said. “Prices of practically everything else have risen over the last 10 years. I have four school-going children and I have to provide for their needs like food, tuition fees, all of which have risen in recent years."

Madam Kirsty Foo, 62, a ComfortDelGro taxi driver is worried though, that the fare hike would hurt, rather than boost, her earnings, which have already been cut since the start of the pandemic.

Passengers, she said, might turn instead to private-hire car services provided by Grab or Gojek, for instance. 

“It is already very difficult to get passengers,” Mdm Foo said, having worked as a taxi driver for seven-and-a-half years.  

She is hoping that ComfortDelGro would look into other ways of helping drivers like herself by reducing their rental fees or providing petrol vouchers, for example, instead of raising fares. 

ComfortDelGro made its last fare adjustment in December 2011, when it revamped its taxi-fare structure with a mixed bag of changes, which meant that most passengers paid more for their taxi rides, although some trips ended up being cheaper. 

Flagdown fares were similarly increased by 20 cents then for most taxis and meter fares by two cents for every fare band over a slightly longer distance.

The surcharge for flagdowns in the city area was also extended then to Sundays and public holidays, while the peak-period hours were revised and the peak-period surcharge was cut from 35 per cent to 25 per cent.

Mr Neo Chee Yong, deputy general manager of Prime Taxi, a smaller taxi operator, said that his company had filed an application to adjust its fares before ComfortDelGro's announcement. 

"We will take into account the new information and act accordingly. Our priority is to help drivers cope with increasing fuel costs, inflation and shrinking income," he added.  

Separately, Strides Taxi said that it is reviewing its current fare structure, given the impact of higher fuel prices and inflation on its drivers' incomes.

It did not give other details. 

TODAY has contacted the Public Transport Council to ask if the other taxi companies have applied to increase their fares. 

Related topics

comfortdelgro taxi fare hike fares transport

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