TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Taxi firms call for dynamic pricing for fares and booked trips

They submitted proposals to the Public Transport Council.

Several taxi companies have sent out their proposals to the Public Transport Council (PTC), urging the authority to consider implementing dynamic pricing for taxi fares and for booked trips.

According to a Facebook post by Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng, PTC is discussing with the firms the details of their proposals.

"In general, commuters who book their taxis through mobile apps will have one more option. They can choose either the current booking method with metered fares, or a new option where fares are determined using dynamic pricing, and agreed between the taxi company and the commuter before the trip begins (much like Uber and Grab services). With this new option, the fares may sometimes be higher than metered fares, but they can also be lower. It will depend on supply and demand," the minister said in his post.

The firms have proposed these plans for their drivers to better compete with private hire cars, which have the flexibility to increase fares during peak periods to earn more.

"We understand that some commuters may be uncomfortable with the taxi companies’ plans. This initial reaction is not unexpected. However, those who prefer not to use this new option can still choose to pay for a booked taxi by the meter. Likewise for street-hail commuters, where dynamic pricing does not apply," Mr Ng noted.

With the competition from Grab and Uber, he added that this will likely keep fares reasonable. However, he urged the firms to ensure that dynamic pricing improves and not worsens the matching of supply to demand of taxi services.

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