LTA scrapping minimum daily mileage for taxis – what about scrapping COEs for cabs?

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Leveling the playing field?

By: Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “LTA scrapping minimum daily mileage for taxis” (Straits Times, Dec 18). The article states: “The easing of taxi regulations is seen by observers as a first step towards levelling the playing field between taxis and private-hire car services, which are currently unregulated. As of October, there were six cab companies in Singapore which run more than 27,500 taxis. A news report in September estimated that Uber and Grab had a combined fleet of about 25,000 private cars.”

Taxi drivers suffer drop in income?

All my taxi driver friends have told me that their earnings have dropped by 20 per cent or more.

Pass on savings to drivers?

With regard to “The changes mean that operators can save on compliance costs, such as tracking drivers to ensure they clock the required mileage.

Remove or reduce COE?

Said Mr Ng: “We hope that taxi companies will consider passing on the savings to taxi drivers, by lowering rentals, for example, or improving welfare for them” – if we truly want to help taxi drivers – we should consider removing or reducing the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for taxis.

After all, taxis are also a form of public transport.

Which country has COE for public transport?

Are there any countries in the world that charges COE on public transport vehicles?

MOT revenue – $9.1b?

In this connection, the estimated operating revenue of the Ministry of Transport is a whopping $9.1 billion for FY2016, which is the highest amongst all the ministries with the exception of the Ministry of Finance which collects income and other taxes.

So, we may easily be able to afford removing or reducing COE for taxis.

Still require 85% during peak hours

“However, between the peak periods of 7am and 11am, and 5pm and 11pm, taxi operators have to continue to ensure that 85 per cent of their fleets are on the roads, even after the changes.

Taxi driver Raymond Ong, 57, said that the revised standards “help to alleviate the burden of driving aimlessly and cruising empty””.

When drivers fall sick?

As to “Cabby Henry Tay, 48, said: “Sometimes, we may fall sick, and are unable to meet the 250km mileage”” – one of my taxi driver friends is going to have a heart bypass – probably aggravated by stress – and won’t be able to work for the next three months or so.

This means that he will also have no income.