The Taxi Situation in Singapore: A Conversation with an UBER Taxi Driver in Singapore

Most of us have experienced the frustration in (not) getting a taxi. Taxis are hard to find, booking charges are ridiculously expensive (not the absolute dollar value but rather, the pricing of it) and when you eventually manage to flag down a taxi, you have to almost pitch your destination to the taxi driver, hoping that he or she will be kind enough to send you there (at full price of course). Last week, I got an Uber Taxi to take me home - the taxi came with a seriously chatty driver so I thought I should leverage on the opportunity to find out more about the current taxi situation in Singapore instead. 


Uber used to provide an iPhone (on loan) and a mobile line to all drivers who participate in the program. Commissions used to be at approximately S$8 per trip with additional bonuses at S$50 when you hit a particular target for the day. Now, Uber requires all new drivers to pay a safety deposit of approximately S$120 before an iPhone (on loan) and a mobile line will be provided. Commissions have also fallen to only S$3 a trip lately. 

If you do not have an existing Uber account, sign up using my link below to get S$10 Credit which you can use on your next ride: No taxi booking fees will be charged for all uberTAXIs requested from now until 31 December 2014 - saving you S$2.30 to S$4.50 per trip!  


iPhone and mobile lines are not provided by GrabTaxi - taxi drivers have to use their own personal line to make calls. As such, some drivers are less inclined to join the GrabTaxi program. 

Policy and Standards (by LTA) 

To improve on the taxi (un)availability situation next year, at least 85 per cent of taxi operators' fleets will have to meet a daily minimum mileage of 250km on weekdays, and during the peak periods, 85 per cent of their taxis must also be on the roads. According to the driver that I have spoken to however, the 250km can be clocked easily without actually having to pick up actual passengers. The taxi meter can be tweaked to reflect a different mode which will take all the private usage into consideration too. Way. To. Go. 

Here are some additional standards that will be implemented following 2015: 

  • All information on the fare rates, surcharges and fees payable for the journey must be specified to commuters upfront, before commuters accept the dispatched taxi.
  • Bidding and pre-trip tipping will not be allowed.
  • Booking fees charged by third-party taxi booking services should not exceed those charged by taxi companies.
  • Commuters should not be required to specify their destinations before making bookings.
  • Third-party booking services will be required to provide basic customer support services.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article has not been verified extensively and it is simply a result from a single conversation with a particular taxi driver.