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Oral Reply by Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng to Parliamentary Question on Dynamic Pricing for Taxis

04 Apr 2017 In Parliament

Mr Saktiandi Supaat asked the Minister for Transport

a.     what is the Ministry's position on the practice of taxi operators adopting surge pricing during off-peak hours to reflect market demand;

b.     what can it do to prevent overcharging; and

c.     how can passengers be given prior information on when the taxi companies are imposing the surge pricing.

Reply by Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng:

1.      Several taxi companies had applied to the Public Transport Council (PTC) to implement dynamic pricing. They felt they had to make this move in order to compete against private hire car services like Uber and Grab. The PTC was conscious that some commuters are uncomfortable, but on balance allowed it.  

2.     We should not prevent the taxi industry from adapting to meet stiffer competition. Livelihoods are at stake, and the competition will drive the industry to deliver better services to commuters. Moreover, under dynamic pricing, it is not certain how fares will trend. Fares can potentially be higher than metered fares during peak periods, but lower during off-peak periods. Competition with fast growing private hire car services will also keep fares in check. Metered fares will remain an option for commuters booking a taxi ride, if they are not comfortable with dynamic pricing.       

3.     The taxi companies are required under the law to give commuters sufficient notice, at least one week, before commencing dynamic pricing. Grab had announced on 22 March their plans to implement dynamic pricing on 29 March, and ComfortDelGro had announced their plans on 17 March.