Land Transport Authority Responds to National Taxi Association’s Suggestions on Taxi Availability

News Releases 27 Dec 2013 taxi availability

  1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has reviewed and responded to the National Taxi Association’s (NTA) suggestions on taxi availability (TA). A copy of LTA’s letter is in the Annex.

More taxis on the roads and more jobs catered to after the implementation of the TA standards

  1. Since the implementation of the TA standards on 1 January 2013, more taxis have been on the roads to serve our commuters compared to the same January to September period in 2012. More taxi booking jobs have been catered to and the number of two-shift taxis has also increased.

Table 1: More Taxis on the Roads to Serve Commuters

 

Prior to TA

(Jan – Sep 2012)

With TA

 (Jan – Sep 2013)

Total taxi fleet on the roads during peak periods

82.6%

84.8%

Total taxi fleet plying at least 250km daily

74.6%

75.7%

Total taxi fleet on two-shift

52.2%

56.3%

Average taxi booking cater rate

93.1%

94.6%

Discouraging taxi companies from passing down TA financial penalties to taxi drivers

  1. LTA shares NTA’s view that taxi companies should not pass down financial penalties that they incur to taxi drivers. Instead, taxi companies should help and incentivise their drivers achieve these service and availability standards.
     
  2. Although LTA will raise TA standards from 1 January 2014, the first year TA standards will be used as the basis for financial penalties in 2014 (with the lower second year requirement of 60% taxi availability during the shoulder peak periods). This will allow taxi companies additional time to adjust to the higher second year TA standards. Most taxi companies are currently able to pass the first year standards, and hence should not incur any TA penalties. 

Flexibility already exercised for exclusion of certain taxis from the TA computation

  1. Taxi companies are welcome to apply to LTA for an exemption of niche or premium taxi services from the TA computation. For instance, LTA has exempted SMRT’s London Cabs due to its primary role in serving wheelchair users and the need to fulfil call booking jobs from them.

TA standards finetuned to minimise empty cruising of taxis

  1. LTA’s review indicates that there is lower taxi demand and shorter waiting times at taxi stands during the shoulder peak periods of 6am to 7am, and 11pm to 12 midnight. Hence, instead of increasing the TA requirement for these periods to 75% in the second year, LTA will adjust the requirement downwards to 60%, a level even lower than the first year standards.

Support measures for taxi drivers

  1. LTA relaxed the Central Business District (CBD) taxi rule earlier in January 2013 along with the implementation of the new TA regime. For hirers who are unable to find relief drivers, LTA has introduced a Taxi Matching eService portal. In addition, from January 2014, active drivers will only need to pay half of the Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence (TDVL) fees and undergo a shorter TDVL refresher course, when renewing their licences. LTA is working on with NTA and taxi companies on a mediation scheme to provide a channel for taxi drivers to settle disputes amicably with one another and with their taxi companies.
     
  2. NTA also suggested that the government consider legislating issues concerning driver management matters, such as requiring new TDVL holders to start off as relief drivers to enlarge the pool of active relief drivers. Currently, the market practice is that taxi companies encourage their drivers to start as a relief driver before progressing to become a hirer. LTA’s view is that Government should not be overly prescriptive on how taxi companies recruit and manage drivers for their taxis, and that taxi companies should also have the flexibility to meet their own business needs.
     
  3. LTA would like to commend the taxi companies and taxi drivers for helping to make these improvements possible. LTA will also continue to work closely with the NTA to further improve the taxi industry and enhance the taxi commuter experience.
     
  4. For LTA’s response to NTA’s suggestions in full, please refer to the attached letter.
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