Thursday, January 03, 2008

Riding on a New Regime

I took a Comfort taxi for the first time since the taxi fare increased, on New Year's Eve. I was traveling around 7pm, which was considered a 'peak hour'. I was shocked to see 2 metres in that taxi clocking the fare simultaneously.

The first metre was the regular distance related one, jumping by 20 cents instead of the previous 10 cents. Then there was the previously static surcharge metre. With the new fare structure, that metre is no longer 'quiet'. It also jumped according to the regular fare chalked up - 35% of it. Although I had known about the fare increases, this first time was nerve racking. I just couldn't take my mind off those metres. It was truly a sight to behold.

Eventually, I paid an extra of 66% over and above the new regular fare. I am confused about the Math here compared to the published rates. In any case, this is indeed a substantial fare increase. I said previously that a fare increase was warranted, but at this quantum? Taking a taxi is no longer affordable if taken on a daily basis. One may as well buy a car, except that petrol is just as, if not more, expensive. Truly a situation between a rock and a hard place.

Whichever way it is, it will guarantee that I will NEVER take a taxi during peak hours anymore, except during public holidays when the surcharges do not apply. An exception would be in cases of emergencies. No wonder I see so many taxis idling at taxi stands nowadays during peak hours. The fare is just so drastically higher that a bus or train makes more sense. Either these, or you'd want to get off a taxi as soon as possible by having it take you to the nearest subway train station instead of the full distance. In this respect, the Circle Line cannot start operating too soon. Unfortunately it has been delayed. Meanwhile, previously long queues at taxi stands will be a thing of the past - not that there are no people queuing for a taxi, just very much less people so that there may now appear to be a surplus of taxis.


saintmoron said...

Hi; sorry to say this, but if you people keep harping that it is 'so much cheaper or economical' to use public buses and mrt. Soon the fares for both will be hiked for taxis operators to be 'viable' and taxi drivers 'to survive'.

Epilogos said...

There is a qualitative difference between taking a taxi and other modes of mass transport such as the bus and trains. Taxis by nature are exclusive and therefore commands a premium. But there is a point beyond which this premium will be viewed as a luxury than a need. Mass transport fares will have to find its support level within the new regime (i.e. will rise) but it will never be priced anyway near taxi fares. Whichever way it goes will be driven by the market, and, in Singapore's case, the PTC also.

Let the consumer exercise his/her choice and not second-guess what operators might do. They don't owe us a living and neither do we owe them our patronage.