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Open letter from taxi driver to Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng

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The following open letter was first posted in the Facebook page Singapore Taxi Driver.

Dear Mr Ng Chee Meng

Singapore taxi driver would like to throw the challenge back to LTA, MOT, Mr Ng Chee Meng and Mr Khaw Boon Wan, also NTA and PTA:

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Challenge: Taxi Drivers take bookings only alongside private hirers with current and whatever other upcoming apps as well. And/or allow private hirers to street pick alongside taxis.

All we ask for is totally level the ground especially costs which affects our taxi rental. For example: road tax and lifespan of taxis.

Road tax: taxi road tax is $6k compared to phvs $2k. That is $4k difference a year. Which works out to be $11 per day. Either reduce taxi road tax to $2k same as phvs or increase phvs road tax to $6k same as taxis.

Lifespan: taxis have to be scraped by 7th year compared to phvs 10th year so that works to be 3 years difference. Either increase the taxi lifespan to 10 years similar to phvs or decrease phvs lifespan to 7 years. This will reduce taxi rental or increase private cars rental by $20-40 or 30% per day

We would also like to question if it’s not desirable to completely level , is it then desirable to ignore it totally?

Entry requirements are vastly different. Tdvl require min age 30 and singaporean while phvs min age 21 and can be pr or foreigners. What are the considerations while carving out the requirements for tdvl? Why can’t pdvl follow the same requirements? Or vice versa? Level this.

Fare structures are different. Uber uses virtual meter which is similar to taxi meter albeit different calculation. However uber has surge multipliers which can cover the lower fares over the day. Grab use similar surge concept albeit flat fares pre calculated. Why can’t taxis follow the same surge multipliers as well? Level this.

Rental are different. Why private cars rental is cheaper is stated above due to difference of road tax and lifespan and other factors. Level this.

Targets are different – Taxis have to keep minimum 250km per day. Either scrape this or implement to private hirers as well.

What does Mr Ng want out of this “innovation disruption”? Is he going to learn from the merits and implement back into taxi industry? It’s just a booking app platform backed with loads of investors’ money and using private cars instead of taxis. LTA can create taxi-taxi app, which does nothing except to monitor taxis available status, why can’t it be changed into a more useful taxi booking app? And don’t even need loads of money for incentives. We will gladly ditch GrabTaxi for this across the board booking app.

Summary of the post: Do not use anymore fear mongering tactics. Our income has already been affected, our market share has been split, we are not afraid of anything worse. Grant us the challenge and you get the desired results: for both Passengers and Drivers satisfaction.

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