Taxi Availability Improves for Second Consecutive Year

News Releases 26 Nov 2014 taxi availability

  • More taxis plying the roads and more commuters able to get taxis since implementation of Taxi Availability standards
  • Adjustments made to third year Taxi Availability standards following review of data and feedback from taxi drivers and taxi companies

1.        Taxi commuters are now better served in the second year of the Taxi Availability (TA) framework, with more taxis plying the roads, and hired more of the time.

2.        Since the introduction of the TA standards on 1 January 2013, the percentage of taxis on the roads during peak hours has increased from about 82% in 2012 to 87% in the first nine months of this year. This translates to over 1,400 more taxis being available to commuters during these hours. Over the same period, the percentage of taxis plying at least 250km daily has also increased, from 75% to 79%. The daily taxi utilisation rate, or the proportion of total taxi mileage under hire, has likewise increased, from about 65% in 2013 to 68% in the first nine months of 2014.

These trends indicate that more taxis are plying the roads, and more commuters are able to get a taxi. For taxi drivers, the rise in taxi utilisation rate means that there has been less empty cruising, and they are earning revenue during a larger proportion of the time spent plying the roads.

4.        The proportion of taxis on a two-shift system has increased sharply from 53% to 66% in the two years since the TA standards were introduced. This is a positive development as two-shift taxis are more efficiently used, and are available for commuters to hire for a longer period of time each day. 

Table 1: More Taxis Serving Commuters with TA Standards 


Prior to TA

(Jan-Dec 2012)

1st Year TA

(Jan-Dec 2013)

2nd Year TA

(Jan-Sep 2014)

Total taxi fleet on the roads during peak periods


↑ 85%

↑ 87%

Total taxi fleet plying at least 250km daily


↑ 76%

↑ 79%

Average taxi booking cater rate

(for bookings made directly to taxi companies)


↑ 95%

↑ 96%

Average taxi utilisation rate



↑ 68%

Proportion of two-shift taxis


↑ 59%

↑ 66%

Performance of Taxi Companies

Percentage of taxis on the roads during peak periods

5.        In the first nine months of 2014, Comfort, CityCab and Premier consistently met the required standard. At least 60% of their taxi fleet were on the roads during the shoulder peak periods of 6am to 7am and 11pm to 12 midnight, and at least 80% during the core peak periods of 7am to 11am and 5pm to 11pm. SMRT and Trans-Cab consistently met the standard during the shoulder peak period and most of the core peak periods except for the 7am to 8am and 10pm to 11pm timeslots. Prime did not meet the standard for both the core peak and shoulder peak periods.

Percentage of taxis with minimum daily mileage of 250km

6.        Comfort and CityCab consistently met the standard, with at least 80% of their taxi fleet achieving the minimum daily mileage of 250km from January to September this year. While the other taxi companies did not meet the second year standard, SMRT, Trans-Cab and Premier met the first year standard.

Taxi fleet growth

7.        Taxi companies are required to pass the standards for both indicators in at least four months out of every half-yearly period, to be able to add to their fleet in the corresponding six-month period of the following year. Based on the TA performance of the taxi companies from January to June 2014, Comfort and CityCab would be able to grow their fleet, capped at 2% per annum, in the first half of 2015.

Financial penalties

8.         Taxi companies that are unable to meet the TA standards for two consecutive months for the same indicator would be fined. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been using the first year standards (instead of the second year standards) for financial penalties in 2014 to allow taxi companies more time to adjust to the higher second year standards. Prime is the only company to have been fined so far.

Third Year TA Standards to Better Serve Commuters

No raising of TA standard for minimum percentage of taxis on roads indicator for shoulder peak periods

9.        To further improve taxi availability, LTA will apply the third year TA standards with some refinements from 1 January 2015. During the core peak periods of 7am to 11am and 5pm to 11pm, the minimum percentage of taxis required on the roads will be increased to 85% of each taxi company’s fleet. This standard was set when the TA framework was announced in 2012.

However, given that demand during the shoulder peak periods is lower than that of the core peak periods, LTA will not be raising the minimum percentage of taxis required on the roads during 6am to 7am and 11pm to 12 midnight timeslots. This adjustment also takes into account feedback from taxi drivers and taxi companies.

Downward adjustment of third year TA standard for minimum mileage indicator for weekends and public holidays

11.      The minimum percentage of taxis plying at least 250km daily will also be increased to 85% on weekdays from the current 80%, as announced in 2012. However, this requirement will be lowered to 75% on weekends and on public holidays. This is to take into account relatively lower demand during weekends and public holidays, and after receiving feedback from taxi drivers and taxi companies.

Financial Penalties in Third Year of Taxi Availability Framework

12.      While LTA implements the third year TA standards from 1 January 2015, it will only apply the second year standards, and with the lower requirement for the minimum daily mileage indicator on weekends/public holidays (as mentioned in paragraph 11 above), when determining financial penalties in 2015. This is similar to 2014, when LTA used the first year TA standards for financial penalties instead of the second year standards. This will allow taxi companies more time to adjust to the higher third year TA standards.

LTA urges taxi companies not to pass down any penalties incurred to their drivers if the companies fail the TA standards, but to assist their drivers achieve these standards. All the taxi companies have engaged their drivers on achieving the TA standards. In particular, companies such as SMRT and Trans-Cab have offered incentives to motivate their drivers as well as assistance to their hirers to find suitable relief drivers.

Further Measures to Improve Taxi Availability and Assist Taxi Drivers

14.      To complement the TA framework, LTA is conducting a one-year Taxi Information System (TIS) trial at seven taxi stands[2]. The system aims to improve passenger waiting time and reduce instances of empty cruising by taxi drivers by alerting taxi companies and taxi drivers when the queue or waiting time is long. This information is also available for commuters in real-time.

15.      Third-party taxi booking services have also provided commuters and taxi drivers with an additional means of making and accepting taxi bookings. LTA has announced a basic regulatory framework to safeguard commuter interests. Both the TIS trial and the third-party taxi booking service regulatory framework will complement the TA standards to further improve taxi availability.

In addition to these initiatives, LTA had relaxed the Central Business District (CBD) taxi rule in January 2013 along with the introduction of the TA framework. Taxi drivers can now pick up and drop off passengers along all roads within the CBD, except those with bus lanes during their operation hours and specific roads that are prohibited for all vehicles to stop at any time of the day, such as Finlayson Green, High Street, Orchard Link and Esplanade Drive. Feedback on this liberalisation has been positive from both taxi drivers and commuters.

To facilitate the matching of taxi hirers with potential relief drivers, LTA launched a taxi matching eService portal in 2013. The portal has since made 130 successful matches. Together with the National Taxi Association (NTA) and taxi companies, LTA has also been piloting a mediation scheme since June 2014 to provide a channel for taxi drivers to settle disputes amicably with their taxi companies.

Annex A: Revised Taxi Availability Framework
Annex B: Taxi Availability Results (January – September 2014)


[1] Detailed taxi utilisation rate was only monitored after January 2013.

[2] The seven taxi stands are located at HarbourFront Centre, Hitachi Towers, Keck Seng Tower, Lucky Plaza, Ngee Ann City, OG People’s Park and VivoCity.


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