SINGAPORE: Taxi fares here are relatively affordable, according to a global survey by British online used car dealership Carspring. The 2017 Taxi Price Index surveyed traditional taxi operators in 80 of the “most visited” cities across the globe, including Zurich, New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai. It found that Singapore was the 20th cheapest city in which to take a cab.
At the other end of the spectrum, Zurich has the costliest fare of US$25.25. The standard fare for a 3km ride in Singapore was US$4.01.
Among cities in the region, Mumbai was cheapest (US$1.40), followed by Jakarta (US$1.47), Bangkok (US$1.64) and Kuala Lumpur (US$1.89).
The survey also looked at typical airport to city centre fares. Cairo had the lowest fare of US$4.20.
The most expensive ride was from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport to the Japanese capital’s city centre at US$189.91. In Singapore, which ranked 31st on this score, the fare was US$27.31.
Zurich has the highest initial taxi fee worldwide, costing US$8.30 to just get into a cab. By contrast, it costs only US$0.19 to do so in Tunis which has the lowest initial fee, and US$2.57 in Singapore which was in 33rd place.
At US$82.96 for an hour’s wait, Zurich was also the priciest city in which to ask a cab to wait. The cheapest was in Bangalore where a cab will do so for only US$0.97, while in Singapore, which rated 29th on this measure, the price was US$13.22.
In deriving the initial hire as well as waiting time costs, for instance, the study used data provided by the official website of each city, where available. The airport-to-city prices were obtained from official airport sites and tourist information Web pages.
The average metered fare of the different combinations was used to account for price differences depending on time of day and trip length, among other factors.
The study noted that ride-hailing giant Uber operated in 65 of the 80 cities covered, including Singapore.
Transport experts told TODAY that while taxi prices remain affordable here, firms generally find it hard to match fares offered by private hire car operators like Grab and Uber.
National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng said private hire car firms, which run on a different business model and cost structure, offer lower base fares than taxis — even without the promotions and rewards they offer.
Prof Lee acknowledged, however, that taxis are “affordable” here with “very good” overall service quality. The Republic’s cabs, which run on a metered or flat fare, are also immune from “bargaining” seen in other cities, such as Kuala Lumpur, he added.
Transport economist Walter Theseira from the Singapore University of Social Sciences, said that in most countries, private hire car rides are generally cheaper. He noted that higher fares in cities like Zurich reflect stronger minimum-wage regulations.
The challenge for taxi firms is that private hire car operators are willing to price rides “below cost” to expand market share. Taxi companies cannot afford to do this, because they are “not being financed by fairly low-cost venture capital”.
However, he added that private hire car firms cannot sustain the “current discounting… forever”.
Courtesy: TODAY & themalaymailonline.com