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Singapore’s largest taxi operator, ComfortDelGro, will soon launch a dynamic pricing system for its 13,600 cabs from Jan 19.

This means that fares and for Comfort and CityCab taxis could be lower than the metered rates during off-peak hours, but also surge during high demand period.

The dynamic pricing option for ComfortDelGro taxis will be offered through the Uber app.

Called UberFlash, it will dispatch the nearest car or taxi to the passenger.

The move to pool the supply of ComfortDelGro taxis and Uber cars on a common platform follows an alliance between the two companies announced last month.

The deal, which is still under review by the Competition Commission of Singapore, will see ComfortDelGro acquiring a 51 per cent stake in Uber’s rental car subsidiary, Lion City Holdings.

Fares Can Be 2-3X More During Peak Periods

Image Credit: Uber

According to a newspaper notice put up by ComfortDelGro on Thursday (Jan 11), UberFlash charges a base fare of $3, with a per kilometre rate of 45 cents.

In comparison, the metered rates for ComfortDelGro taxis are higher, with a base fare of between $3.20 and $3.90, and a distance charge that works out to 55 cents a kilometre for the first 10km, and 63 cents per kilometre thereafter.

However, UberFlash fares fluctuate according to demand.

Commuters have lamented that fares can be two to three times more during peak periods, or when there are MRT disruptions.

But ComfortDelGro customers can still pay by the meter for street-hailed cabs and taxis booked via ComfortDelGro’s booking hotline or mobile app.

Like other Uber products, UberFlash will charge a fee if passengers are late for pick-up or if they cancel their bookings.

A 20-cent per minute charge will apply if drivers wait longer than three minutes at the pick-up location. Customers who cancel their bookings after five minutes will be charged $6.

However, these penalties do not apply for customers who book ComfortDelGro taxis via the phone booking system or on ComfortDelGro’s booking app.

23,000 Taxis In S’pore Jumping Onboard 

Following ComfortDelGro’s tie-up with Uber, all 23,000 taxis in Singapore will offer a dynamic pricing option.

Since March last year, close to 10,000 taxis from the five other taxi firms – SMRT, Trans-Cab, Premier, Prime and HDT Singapore Taxi – have started offering dynamic pricing, if rides are booked through the Grab app.

With this system in place, it is likely that the average taxi fare paid during peak hours will go up, but commuters should benefit from shorter waiting times.

But whether commuters will have to fork out more than what a regular taxi charges, with peak-hour surcharges and levies thrown in, boils down to the day’s demand and supply.

While metered fares offer transparency to commuters, the algorithms used by ride-hailing apps in dynamic pricing do not.

National Taxi Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee said that under the dynamic pricing system, taxi operators need to ensure that cabbies’ takings are not adversely affected.

“If the taxi rental rates are high, and fares are low, drivers may feel it’s a bad deal and not want to do the Uber jobs.”

“The difference between UberFlash fares and the metered rates may need to be topped up through incentives or subsidised with lower rentals,” said Ang.

Featured Image Credit: Taxi Singapore 

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)