1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will compute Taxi Availability (TA) based on taxi companies’ respective hired-out fleet, instead of their registered fleet. This adjustment takes into account feedback from the National Taxi Association and taxi companies, and will be applied retrospectively from 1 January 2015. The TA standards remain unchanged.
2. At any one time, a small percentage of each taxi company’s fleet may be unhired, some of which are being maintained, used as spares or pending rental to drivers. The percentage of unhired taxis across the industry in April 2015 was 3.9%.
3. TA is currently computed on the basis of taxi companies’ respective registered fleet, as we would want the companies to deploy on the streets as many as possible of all the taxis which they have registered and for which special COEs had been allocated. That said, we note that using only the hired-out fleet to compute TA removes the variation arising from the unhired taxi fleet and measures the efficiency of hired taxis more accurately. Importantly, taxi drivers would not have to increase their mileage to make up for the non-performance of the unhired taxis. LTA will therefore compute TA on the basis of the hired out fleet henceforth.
4. LTA will maintain the standards for both TA indicators. Taxi companies that have the requisite percentage of taxis on the roads during peak periods, and percentage of taxis with minimum daily mileage of 250km, in four months out of every half-yearly period, will be able to grow their fleet in the corresponding six-month period of the following year, capped at 2% per annum for now.
5. Financial penalties will continue to be imposed on taxi companies that are unable to meet the TA standards for two consecutive months for the same indicator. The financial penalty amount will continue to be computed based on taxi companies’ registered fleets, as is the case for penalties for failing the taxi Quality of Service standards.
Performance of Taxi Companies
6. Since the introduction of the Taxi Availability standards on 1 January 2013, the percentage of hired-out taxis on the roads during peak periods has increased from 82.4% in 2012 to 90.0% in the first four months of 2015. This translates to over 2,000 more taxis being available to commuters during these hours. Over the same period, the percentage of taxis plying at least 250km daily has increased from 74.7% to 80.7%. The daily taxi utilisation rate, or the proportion of total taxi mileage that is engaged by passengers, has likewise increased, from about 64.9% in 2013 to 67.8% in the first four months of 2015. These results 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 that they are plying the roads.
Percentage of taxis on the roads during peak periods
7. Based on their hired-out fleets, Comfort, CityCab and SMRT have consistently met the required standard in the first four months of 2015. At least 60% of their hired-out fleet were on the roads during the shoulder peak periods of 6am to 7am and 11pm to 12 midnight, and at least 85% during the core peak periods of 7am to 11am and 5pm to 11pm. Trans-Cab met the standard in February, March and April 2015, while Premier met the standard in January, February and March 2015. Prime did not meet the standard in the first four months of 2015.
Percentage of taxis with minimum daily mileage of 250km
8. Based on its hired-out fleet, Comfort consistently met the standard in the first four months of 2015, with at least 85% of its fleet achieving the minimum daily mileage of 250km on weekdays and 75% of its fleet on weekends and public holidays. CityCab met the standard in January, March and April 2015, while Trans-Cab met the standard in March and April 2015. Premier, SMRT and Prime did not meet the standard in the first four months of 2015.
9. Using the hired-out fleet to compute TA and applying against the second year TA standards (with the lower requirement for the minimum daily mileage indicator on weekends/public holidays), LTA has served notices of penalties to SMRT for the months of January and February, and to Prime for the months of January, February and March 2015.
10. LTA strongly urges taxi companies not to pass down the penalties incurred to their drivers if the companies fail the TA standards. Taxi companies should instead continue their good work in assisting their drivers to achieve these standards. We note, for example, that 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.
11. To encourage more taxi vocational licence holders to re-join the industry and remain active, LTA had from January 2014 reduced the Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence renewal fees by half for active drivers, and reduced the duration of the refresher course. LTA also encourages the National Taxi Association and the Singapore Taxi Academy to continue their on-going efforts to attract more inactive drivers to return to the trade, as well as recruit new taxi drivers.
Annex A: Taxi Availability Framework
Annex B: Taxi Availability Results Based on Hired-out Fleet (January – April 2015)
 In the 10 years before the TA standards was introduced, the industry-level unhired rate fluctuated from as little as 1.0% to as high as 7.1%.
 To allow taxi companies more time to adjust to the higher third year TA standards implemented from 1 January 2015, LTA had announced on 26 November 2014 that it would apply the second year TA standards, and with the lower requirement for the minimum daily mileage indicator on weekends/public holidays, when determining financial penalties in 2015. This is similar to 2014, when LTA used the first year TA standards for determining financial penalties instead of the second year TA standards.