The National Taxi Association (NTA) was reported to have criticised the recent price cuts by Grab and Uber, saying the two companies have not only hit their drivers’ earnings and could also hurt the taxi industry and, ultimately, commuters if left unchecked.
In response to the price cut by two app-based booking companies, NTA executive adviser Ang Hin Kee who is also a Member of Parliament from the People’s Action Party said, “It’s an unhealthy and unsustainable business strategy,”
Mr Ang told The Sunday Times that a “price war” would mean both private-hire car drivers and cabbies having to do more trips and driving longer to earn the same amount.
He noted that the worry is that if private-hire car firms end up dominating the market, they can then start raising prices, and charge a premium.
“The new players will (first) offer a lot of goodies… But when they have the market share later on, they could exercise the right to earn profits,” said Mr Ang. “What checks and balances do we have to ensure that both commuters and drivers are not taken advantage of?”
Mr Fredrick Goh, a taxi driver did not agree with what Mr Ang is saying and writes as below;
I am a full-time taxi driver.
For discussion sake, i think intense competition does has its advantages such as better services, force companies to be more productive etc. As pointed out by some, taxi companies especially Comfort Delgro has been dominating the market too long. They have over the time become dinosaur and unproductive. If not for the entry of Grab and Uber, despite their innovation in call bookings, they rely too much on human intensive system which are ineffective.
Being said that, however, taxi industry has a big problem now. Taxi Drivers are short changed, period. We are constantly slapped with unfair regulations and rules that applies only to licensed driver. It makes me feel stupid why i spend time n money to maintain a, wad is in effect, a useless license. This license bind us down with so many rules that is not applicable to unlicensed drivers who are essentially doing the same job as me.
Seriously, i would like to follow Grab and Uber to change my rate as and when I see demand fluctuate. I am all for competition as I am a firm believer and is not afraid of new players in the industry as I feel my service is unique and there will be customers who will match my profile.
Just make sure the system is fair. I want LTA to make vocation license defunct now. The market is not killing me, LTA is. Since they are essentially selling out law abiding citizen, I want the LTA and the useless Union out of my way to make an honest living.
So I say to competition, by all means come, but to LTA, get out of my way.