For fun and laughter, here is a summary of the review:
City Area Surcharge: up from $1 to $3, effective 5pm and midnight from Mondays to Saturdays.
Late Night Surcharge: up from the staggered 10% to 50% current one, to the flat 50% extra for rides between 12 midnight to 5.59am daily.
The fun part is, this 50% more at midnight deal was the original plan before going staggered. Neither solved the problem of disappearing cabs at 11pm to 11.59pm.
And if you think the silly $3 City Area surcharge is going to solve things, good luck to you. And also, what about the disappearing cabs OUTSIDE the CBD?
Peak Period Surcharge: up from the $2 flat fee now in effect between 7am and 9.30am on weekdays and 5pm to 8pm from Mondays to Saturdays, to 35% of the metered fare.
And the company says, a detailed breakdown of this extra "premium fare" will be shown on each receipt "to ensure transparency".
Why is it called a premium fare? Does the cab become a first-class cabin at those surcharge hours? Does the driver speak nicer to you? If anything, the surcharges are not premium fares, but just punishment fares.
Flag down fare: up by 30 cents from $2.50 to $2.80 for the first kilometre.
Distance fare: up from 10-cent jumps to 20-cent jumps.
Waiting time: up from 10 cents per 25 seconds to 20 cents per 45 seconds.
Only the prime time booking fee is going down from $4 to $3.50.
So if you call for a cab from the city, at 8pm on a Friday night, you are going to pay $10.30 even before the cab moves off ($3 City Area surcharge, $2.80 flag down, $3.50 call charge, $1 or 35% of metered fare for Peak Period surcharge).
If you happen to be in the city on a weekday, only 8.5 hours of your day is surcharge-less.
Between 5pm to the next morning from Monday to Saturday, you only have a four hour window, 8.01pm to 11.59pm, where you don't get charged an extra % of your metered fare.
My wife and I waited 45 minutes for a cab at Suntec City Convention Centre on a Saturday night. Most of the cabs were either changing shift, or On Call. One SMRT cab even waited in front of our queue with the On Call sign on, and after a spell, gave up and picked up a passenger at our queue. Others dropped off passengers and suddenly became On Call at our area.
With these surcharges, confusing and high, the taxi company has made it easier for us to decide how to get around the next time we are at Suntec City.
Friend Jason said to me over ICQ, "i think i should seriously consider riding bike to and from work".
"i told you to do so long ago liao", I messaged back. "somemore you have the perfect bike for commuting, hybrid bike. indulge your bicycle hobby, get some exercise, and save money getting to work, what is not to like?"
"i should hor?" he asks a rhetorical question.
"the only reason i take cabs these days is that my hours are crazy and to spend less time traveling , i take cab", he messaged back, "now must recon, i need to scout where i can park bike in office."
At least we can thank the cab company for driving one of their regular customers into the arms of a healthier, and more environmental-friendly form of transportation.