Taxi industry in S’pore is dying

About 9 out of 100 taxis sitting idle and unhired somewhere in Singapore.

By Belmont Lay | July 17, 2017

Out of 26,476 taxis in Singapore, some 2,400 taxis are unhired and left idling in the yard somewhere.

According to The Straits Times, this number is up from about 1,300 previously.

This puts the unhired rate for the first five months of 2017 at 9.1 percent, an unprecedented number.

Last year, it was 5 percent.

As of April 2017, five operators have a combined fleet of 26,476 taxis.

However, ComfortDelGro, which operates the largest fleet with more than 15,860 Comfort and CityCab cabs, was quoted by ST as saying its unhired rate has remained “relatively low” despite stiff competition.

It declined to provide a number.

The economics of the taxi business here is such that the costs of having one idle taxi requires about seven hired taxis to cover.

This is bad news for ComfortDelGro, Trans-Cab, SMRT, Premier and Prime, the five cab firms in Singapore.

If the math is worked out: This means once the unhired rate exceeds 15 percent, taxi companies will effectively be losing money by continuing to stay in the business.

It was reported that since late 2016, firms such as Trans-Cab and Premier have been cutting rentals by up to 40 percent to attract hirers.

Private-hire car services Grab and Uber have been eating away at the old school competition.

The average daily ridership for taxis was at an eight-year low of 853,000 between January and April this year, a 12 percent drop from 977,000 in the same period last year, LTA figures show.

 

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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