Updated: 12/18/2013 01:51

Some commuters avoiding SMRT's taxis "wherever possible" due to sudden fare hike

Some commuters avoiding SMRT's taxis "wherever possible" due to sudden fare hike

SMRT has increased the flagdown and distance fares for most of its taxi types yesterday 

Our news desk finds out how the public is responding to the fare hike. 

Besides raising the hop-on fare for its Chevrolet Epica cabs by 20 cents to $3.60 - SMRT has also raised the distance fares for its Mercedes-Benz, London cab, Hyundai Starex and Ssangyong Rodium cabs. 

An SMRT spokesperson says the changes are to "keep pace with current rates in the industry". 

A trip in these cabs is now about 30 per cent higher than before, and also 30 per cent more than what their competitors are charging. 

Six out of ten commuters 938LIVE spoke to say they would avoid taking cabs which have recently increased their fares. 

One of them is 28-year-old Adminstrative Executive, Kenneth Tan, who takes a cab at least three times a week. 

He has refused to board SMRT taxis since learning of its fare increase.

"I feel that it's setting a bad precedence, if I continue taking, all other commuters may think that well, this is something that is unavoidable, then probably every other cab companies will increase their charges, so as not to lose potential income." 

Mr Tan however acknowledged there are more than 10 taxis with different flag-down fares currently. 

As a result, he only takes those with fares he's certain of, in order not to overspend. 

Karthik Madhavan is another unhappy commuter. 

"It's not fair for those who have to take cabs, for emergencies, and everything. But, for me, I need to get to one place to another, I don't own a car, I take a cab, I can claim, but for those who can't, they will have problems." 

Meanwhile, some commuters are not too bothered with the sudden fare increase. 

One of them, Linny Tan, says "beggars can't be choosers" - especially during peak hours. 

"We are more concerned with rushing to where we want to go, rather than about the fares. I guess every company has their own reason why they need to raise fare. I wouldn't complain, our living standard and cost of living are rising anyway." 

Singapore's two other operators with the largest taxi fleet, ComfortDelgro and Transcab, declined to say if they will be raising their fares. 

Last month, Senior Minister of State for Transport, Josephine Teo said the Government is relooking the taxi fare structure to make it "simpler" and "easier" to compare across cab operators. 

The review is expected to be completed by middle of next year. 

-By Lee Gim Siong

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