Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan stated that in 2016, average monthly net earnings per taxi driver came down compared to the previous year, by about 6.2%. Notwithstanding this, in total since 2013, when the private hire car industry started to grow, average monthly net earnings per taxi driver are still up by about 4% in real terms, aided in part by falling energy prices.
This is his response to questions filed by Mr Zaqy Mohamad, MP for Chua Chu Kang Grc, who asked the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry has studied the impact of the growth of the private car hire app industry on taxi drivers’ incomes, whether there is a difference in income between day hirers and midnight shift hirers, whether taxi drivers’ incomes have improved since the recent changes to the Taxi Availability Framework, what more can be done to level the playing field and enhance the income of affected drivers and whether there are plans to engage taxi companies to adapt fare surcharges and rentals to help them cope with competition.
The Minister also said that in addition, gross fare revenue per taxi has remained relatively stable since 2013. This suggests that private hire car services have, in part, catered to new or previously unmet demand.
“We do not have income data that is broken down by different types of drivers, for example, night shift drivers,” he noted.
Mr Khaw said that it is too soon to determine the effect of the removal of the 250km requirement on taxi drivers.
“I expect it to be positive, not solely for their earnings but also the additional flexibility for them to plan their schedules. As the market continues to evolve, we will continue to review taxi regulations periodically to ensure that they stay relevant and promote the best outcomes for taxi commuters, drivers and companies,” he said.
Ultimately, the Minister said that private hire car services compete against taxi companies for drivers, and the ability to attract drivers to rent either taxis or private hire cars is dependent on the earnings of the respective drivers, noting that this competition can be positive for taxi drivers.
Mr Khaw also noted that taxi companies have recently introduced measures to the benefit of their drivers. Some companies have reduced taxi rentals, while others have introduced innovative rental schemes, including giving rental rebates based on the drivers’ performance.
He added that taxi companies can also adjust their fares and surcharges if they assess that this would make their services more competitive and taking into consideration the impact on their drivers’ earnings.
“Indeed, I hope the taxi industry will rise to the competition through such changes and by enhancing the level and value of service provided,” he ended.

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