Great to read in the Straits Times today the “leaked” news that the Land Transport Authority is going to review rules for our taxis. http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_761205.html
Never mind if LTA isn’t going to touch the recent controversial fare hike.
Better that LTA doesn’t just tweak here and there but do something truly fundamental and passenger beneficial.
By this I mean remove the need for taxis to have COEs for crying out loud. Scrap too the ERP charges on taxis.
True, taxis as road users will contribute to congestion but aren’t roads built so that vehicles can drive on them?
So what’s the problem?
Doesn’t the Government want to encourage vehicle owners to switch to public transport? But it might not be easy for them to go immediately from car to bus and/or MRT because a car for most aren’t a luxury (unless like one of my neighbours, you own four!!) but a necessity.
Isn’t the best way to wean people like me off our dependence on our cars is to make taxis comparatively cheaper instead of making both taxi and car COEs bid for the same shrinking pool of the CAT A certificates and suffer auction prices that can buy two or three cars in nearby countries?
The current way, taxis have to pay an arm and a leg for COEs, resulting in their owners having to raise fares to cover this sky-high COEs as well as other rising costs.
For a car owner, it makes no sense to give up my car and pay higher taxi fares, as well as ERP charges for going into an expanding ERP catchment — and then suffer the frustration of never being sure of getting a cab when I need one!
For a car owner it make sense to quit driving only when one is either flat broke or when one’s taxi fare though high is still relatively cheaper than owning a car and there is no compromise on the ease of securing a taxi as and when one is needed.
For this, the LTA should bring back taxi kiosks like the one that used to exist in the Holland Village of old and allow more kiosks to spawn across the island. Instead of running empty hoping to find passengers — and thereby adding to much pointless road usage and air pollution — taxis could then head for these kiosks to await the call for their next pick up or for drop-by fares.
Cruising taxis should still be allowed as should call-taxis under the current system. But to incentivise passengers to call their nearest kiosk, scrap the booking fee, as a pre-booked taxi guarantees the driver business.
Initially, such no-fee booking passengers might have to pre-register with the taxi companies to prevent nuisance or no-show bookings, till the system is entrenched.
Alas, this is likely to be another of those pre-Budget pipe-dreams that LTA will steam-roller over in tunnel-visioned fashion 😛