Expect higher fares or longer wait for cabs during peak hours
TNP speaks to three transport experts on the dynamic fixed fare scheme for taxis
Taxi companies now have the option of implementing dynamic pricing in the form of flat fares for trips booked via mobile applications after the Land Transport Authority and Public Transport Council accepted their proposal.
The dynamic fixed fare scheme lets customers know the price of their intended trip before the start of the journey.
Grab is working with its partner taxi companies - Premier, Prime, TransCab, and SMRT, who announced their partnership yesterday - to provide this new pricing service.
ComfortDelGro also announced yesterday that it will be adopting its own flat fare system, which will be launched in two to three weeks.
The new pricing scheme will be introduced as an additional option for commuters, on top of the current metered fare system.
This comes after taxi commuters' concerns were raised in Parliament last week, when Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng said the taxi industry should be allowed to "innovate and adapt to new market conditions and competition".
The National Taxi Association welcomed the move, stating that it has been calling for the Government and stakeholders to adapt to the changing scene of the taxi industry.
The New Paper talked to three transport experts about the dynamic fixed fare scheme.
What are dynamic fixed fares?
"Firstly, a fixed fare will be calculated, taking into account the travel time, distance, booking fees, and any location or time-based surcharges," said Dr Walter Thesiera, an Economics professor from the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
"This fare will then be subjected to dynamic pricing, which may fluctuate depending on the demand and supply of taxis at that point in time."
Who will be affected?
Commuters who book through the Grab app under a new service called JustGrab.
Commuters who do so will be choosing to pay a dynamic fixed fare for their taxi ride. For those who prefer the metered fare, GrabTaxi will still be available.
Dynamic fixed fares will not affect commuters who choose to hail a taxi, wait at taxi stands, and make bookings by calling for a taxi.
Taxi drivers from the cab companies that work with Grab will also be affected by the new pricing scheme.
How will fare prices affect commuters?
Dr Lee Der-Horng, a professor at the National University of Singapore's department of civil and environmental engineering, said: "During non-peak hours, commuters who choose the dynamic fixed fares will likely pay lower prices as compared to commuters who decide on the metered fare. However, during peak hours, the price of the dynamic fixed fare is expected to be more than that of the metered fare due to the large increase in demand for taxis."
Will I still be able to get a street hail?
"Hailing a cab will still be available for those who prefer not to book their rides through an app," said Dr Theseira.
"However, expect to wait longer during the peak hours as taxi drivers will now have more incentive to accept bookings rather than picking up a commuter on the street."