Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan stated that the growth of private hire car (PHC) services has benefitted commuters as they supplement taxi services.
This is his response to a question filed on 20 February by Mr Gan Thiam Poh, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, who asked the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry will review and control the number of vehicles that can be used for private vehicle hire in addition to the vocational licence requirement for such car drivers.
The Minister stated that the private-hire services have now claimed about half the market for point-to-point transportation services, stressing that this comes as the total number of taxi trips has remained relatively stable, with only a slight drop from an average of 967,000 trips daily in 2013 to 954,000 trips daily in 2016.
“That means that the new players have been meeting new demand or unmet demand,” the Minister said, adding that he thinks the best approach is to let Singaporeans decide.
He said that commuters expressed greater satisfaction with Uber and Grab compared to taxis in areas such as customer service and waiting times, referring to a recent survey conducted by Public Transport Council (PTC).
He then added that competition between PHC and taxi operators has been good, as there was also improvement in taxi services due to taxi operators ramping up efforts to improve service in the face of competition.
Mr Khaw noted that the evidence does not suggest premiums are going up as a result of private-hire car services, saying that the bids submitted during each cycle were “more or less” at the market rate, and that private-hire car firms were “not being particularly aggressive” in bidding.
However, he did not answer clearly about the question on the review and control on the number of vehicles that can be used for private vehicle hire in addition to the vocational licence requirement for such car drivers