The next time you get on a MaxiCab with more than four other people, it will cost you more to get to your next destination.
If you are unfamiliar with MaxiCab, the 7 seater taxi fleet operated under ComfortDelgro, which currently charges a boarding fare of S$3.90, has a 30-cent fare jump for every 400m or less after the first kilometre up to 10km and every 350m thereafter or less.
Starting next Monday (9th May 2016), there will be an additional surcharge of $3 for the fifth, sixth and seventh passengers of the seven-seater MaxiCabs. This will not, however, affect the company’s flat rate transfer services, such as the limousine services going to and from Changi Airport at $55 a trip.
The additional surcharge of $3 will be on top of these pre-existing charges.
Last One To The Party
This brings an end to ComfortDelGro being the only taxi operator to not levy this surcharge on its bigger taxis, a fleet of about 160 MaxiCabs. The other taxi operators with the larger multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) taxis, SMRT, Prime, and Smart have had a similar surcharge in place for a while, with SMRT introducing it in 2011.
Sources told The Straits Times that this delayed response by ComfortDelGro came about because the company is coming under pressure from the majority of their MaxiCab drivers whom have signed a petition for this levy due to the high daily rental rate of these taxis, costing more than $160 a day.
Will It Truly Help The Drivers?
While this price increase may appease the majority whom voted for it, there are still some who have voiced out that this move may affect their earnings further.
Dr Park Byung-joon, a transport expert, and an adjunct associate professor at SIM University, told TODAY that while the additional revenue will help drivers cover operating costs, on the other hand, the surcharge will make it less attractive for passengers to call a MaxiCab, as they would be unwilling to spend the extra sum.
There is also concerns from the drivers that this price increase came at a bad time amidst the stiff competition from Uber and Grab, which are fast gaining popularity. Lawyer Sue Kaur also told The Straits Times that she would rather call for two Uber cars than a MaxiCab. While a passenger that TODAY approached, Ms Hui Shan, had a more optimistic outlook – she mentioned that it will still be worth the money for people traveling in larger groups, from one end of Singapore to another.
The quest to gain ridership amongst the taxi operators seems like a balancing act to appease both drivers and passengers, whilst also competing with the private hire car industry. One position which many don’t envy to be in.