Let taxi industry adapt to competition: Ng Chee Meng

Hannah Teoh
·Senior Content Producer
Ng Chee Meng
Yahoo Singapore file photo

Dynamic pricing is one way that the taxi industry is adapting to stiff competition from private hire car companies such as Grab and Uber, said Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (4 April), Ng said, “We should not prevent the taxi industry from adapting to meet stiffer competition. Livelihoods are at stake and the competition will drive the industry to deliver better services to commuters”

“Moreover, under dynamic pricing, it is not certain how fares will trend. Fares can potentially be higher during peak periods but also lower during off peak periods. Competition with fast growing private hire car services will also keep fares in check,” said Ng, who added that metered fares will remain an option for commuters booking a taxi ride if they are not comfortable with dynamic pricing.

He was responding to a question from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat about the Ministry of Transport (MOT)’s position on the practice of taxi operators adopting surge pricing, and what the MOT could do to prevent overcharging.

Dynamic pricing, or surge pricing, adjusts fares based on demand and is used by Grab and Uber.

Last month, ride-hailing app Grab introduced its dynamic fare pricing service JustGrab. This means that customers who book a ride through the service will be charged an upfront fare and be picked up by either a GrabCar driver or taxi driver from one of Grab’s five taxi company partners.

On 10 April, taxi operator ComfortDelgro will introduce a new flat taxi fare for app bookings. Unlike its metered fares, the flat fare option will not incur additional charges due to travel delays such as traffic jams.