In the midst of high growing demand for taxi services, the ComfortDelgro Group revised its taxi fare structure to better match supply.
The new fare structure comprises of widening the peak hour surcharge from 6am to 9:30am in the morning in contrast with the usual 7am to 9:30am. The peak phases will also comprise weekends and Holidays.
Read more about ComfortDelgro revising Taxi Fare Structure..
By Elizabeth Soh, The Sunday Times
He looks like any other airport greeter, holding a placard with a name.
But the giveaway comes when he whispers to arriving visitors: “Taxi, taxi? Only $35 to anywhere.”
An investigation by The Sunday Times showed that taxi touts are back to muscle in on the tourist dollar, following unprecedented visitor arrivals to Singapore.
Read more about illegal touts..
By Ng Kai Ling & Maria Almenoar, Straits Times
TAXI passengers headed for Johor Baru are happy that they will soon be able to hail any of 200 authorised cabs anywhere in Singapore for that ride across the border.
Similarly, a taxi rider in JB will be able to hop into any of 200 licensed Malaysian cabs for the journey back to Singapore.
New rules passed on Monday during the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat between the two countries’ prime ministers should make commuting in taxis to and from Malaysia easier.
They state that taxis can now pick up and drop off passengers anywhere in their domestic countries. But they still need to go to the respective pick-up points in the other country.
Currently, taxis plying both sides of the border are allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at just two places: Ban San Street near Bugis, and Pasar Bakti terminal in Johor.
The new rules will save Madam Maureen Yin – a 55-year-old Malaysian nurse who lives in Yishun – a lot of time in travelling to Johor, she says. Singapore to Malaysia taxi cabs
New Player looks to enter Singapore taxi scene
DESPITE clear signs that the taxi industry is overcrowded – operators posting thinner profits, outright losses and hundreds of taxis laid up idle – there is a new applicant for a taxi operating licence.
Confirming market talk that has been circulating for weeks now, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Straits Times: ‘LTA received an application for the taxi operator’s licence recently, and we are currently evaluating the application.’
The authority would not reveal the identity of the applicant, but The Straits Times understands that the applicant is Tiong Asia Marine, a small company that repairs, paints and cleans boilers for the shipping industry.
Since the Singapore taxi industry was liberalised in 2003, four newcomers have entered the fray to join incumbents ComforDelGro (Comfort Taxi and CityCab) and SMRT Corp (SMRT Taxis). They are Smart Taxis, Trans-Cab, Premier Taxis and Prime Taxis.
Singapore taxi operator ComforDelGro said it had purchased Australian bus operator Kefford Group for A$149.2 million ($96.26 million). The firm has a 16 percent share of the bus market in the state of Victoria.
ComforDelGro‘s Q3 income dips 18.1% to $48.3m
By Samuel Ee
Mon, Nov 17, 2008 The Business Times
HIGH energy costs and diesel subsidies to taxi hirers, as well as a weaker British pound, put the brakes on Comforters Corp’s third-quarter net profit, dragging it down 18.1 per cent to $48.3 million from a year ago.
But revenue for the three months to Sept 30 rose 5.2 per cent to $811.5 million on organic growth in Singapore, China, Australia and Vietnam.
Q3’s earnings per share dropped 18.3 per cent to 2.32 cents from 3.04 cents.
The land transport giant reported growth in bus and rail readership, taxi hired-out rates, vehicle inspections and driving school enrolment but the translation effect of the weaker currencies of the UK and Australia weighed down these positive factors.
Q3 operating expenses rose 8.2 per cent to $733.6 million due mainly to increases in fuel and electricity costs, purchases of diesel for resale, provision of accident insurance claims, payment for credit and Nets card transactions, and diesel subsidies. Fuel and electricity costs, for example, jumped 37.8 per cent to $78.7 million, while materials and consumables (diesel purchases) soared 48.6 per cent to $90.2 million.
These were mitigated by lower vehicle leasing charges, lower repair and maintenance, and the writeback of pension provisions.
ComforDelGro said Q3’s overseas turnover accounted for 42.2 per cent of total group turnover, down from nearly 48 per cent a year ago, with the long-stated goal to derive half of group revenue from abroad facing a speed hump in the form of a depreciating British pound.
Otherwise, the group said Q3’s group operating profit was 50 per cent higher compared with Q2 due to improvements across all businesses.
“Our group remains fundamentally sound,” said Kua Hong Pak, ComforDelGro managing director and group CEO. “We have grown all our businesses in the first nine months of this year despite very challenging financial and economic conditions.”
Turnover for the group’s bus business slipped 1.2 per cent to $396.8 million on the weaker pound. But operating profit of $26.4 million was 36 per cent lower from a year ago because of higher fuel costs. UK bus operations accounted for over 70 per cent of overseas bus turnover, which itself was 58.9 per cent of total group bus turnover. In Singapore, SBS Transit’s turnover grew 8.7 per cent on increases in bus ridership and rental income. But operating profit was 32 per cent lower from a year ago because of higher fuel costs.
The Singapore taxi business saw turnover inch up 2.7 per cent in Q3 to $238.2 million. Turnover from Singapore jumped 10.5 per cent to $157.6 million on the back of more cashless transactions and a larger fleet. But overseas taxi operations’ turnover fell 9.7 per cent due mainly to a 19.6 per cent decline in UK turnover, although this was offset by higher turnover from China and Vietnam. Overall, total operating profit dipped 15.6 per cent to $28.6 million.
Turnover from the North-east MRT Line and two LRTs soared 19.7 per cent to $28.5 million as ridership grew steadily, boosting the rail’s operating profit 73.9 per cent to $4 million. For the first nine months ended Sept 30, 2008, net profit was down 10.2 per cent to $155.3 million, while revenue was 5.6 per cent higher at $2.36 billion.
The year-to-date earnings per share was 7.45 cents – 10.6 per cent lower than the 8.33 cents previously.
ComforDelGro, which traditionally has low gearing, has short-term bank loans of $70.1 million – down from the $72.6 million at the end of the last financial year. Its total current liabilities of $790.4 million fell from $807.5 million nine months ago.
This article was first published in The Business Times on Nov 14, 2008.
- Mon, Nov 17, 2008, The Business Times
Common Taxi Number or 6-DIAL-CAB: One ring to call them all
By Mak Mun San
July 27, 2008 The Straits Times
It was designed to make taxi bookings a lot easier, and that promise has been delivered.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) last Monday launched a new Common Taxi Number (CTN) system – 6-3425-222 or 6-DIAL-CAB – and early signs show that it is a success.
Commuters seeking a cab dial this common number and they are channelled to the call centres of Singapore’s six taxi companies, one at a time, till they get one.
If the first cab operator’s call centre does not take your call in 10 seconds, the system diverts you to the second one, and then the third.
If that is unsuccessful, you will be asked to try again. If you do, the system will recognise it is your second attempt and connect you to the next three call centres.
To find out how well it works, seven LifeStyle reporters did a test of the new number, as well as the hotlines of the six taxi companies.
The reporters made four trips by calling to book a cab during the morning and evening peak hours, with everyone making a call at the same time, and going to the same destinations.
The $90,000 new system, introduced by the LTA at no extra cost to the taxi companies, received a five-star rating from the team for its ease of use and efficiency.
All calls were picked up almost immediately and then re-directed to one of the six cab operators’ call centres. In every instance, the booking was completed within three minutes.
Reporters who could not get through to their respective taxi cab companies or who failed to secure a booking fell back on the new hotline number as an alternative and their calls were also attended to swiftly.
In the past, you had to remember the numbers of six cab operators here and it proved very confusing for many people, particularly tourists.
Under the new system, the normal booking fees still apply, depending on which company you end up making a booking with.
It automatically allocates calls to the taxi companies based on their market share of all call bookings. This way, every cab company gets its fair share of calls allocated to it.
If you prefer a particular taxi company but cannot remember its booking hotline, you can call this new line and get its operator to forward your call.
A check with the LTA shows that more than 4,600 calls were made to the new line in the first four days. Its spokesman says the system can handle 780 calls simultaneously.
‘Even at peak hours, this level of calls would be exceptional,’ says the spokesman, adding that during the first four days, the system achieved a 100 per cent pick-up rate of all calls.
To raise awareness about the new system, 130 posters and 15,500 fliers have been distributed to six major tourist attractions such as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Singapore Flyer.
In addition, 30 Singapore taxi stands also display the new number.
Those who have used the new hotline give it a thumbs-up, praising it for being hassle-free and convenient.
Undergraduate Lum Jin Xian, 21, says: ‘The common number was useful when I was stuck in the rain trying to recall the various booking numbers of the cab companies.’
In the LifeStyle test, ComfortDelgro‘s fleet of Comfort and CityCab taxis came up tops too, for its speedy and reliable service.
Smart took the last spot. It could not find a cab for our reporter for the first three calls, and the one time when a booking was secured, the cab failed to show up.
The results mirror a similar test LifeStyle did two years ago, when the new system was not yet in place.
Singapore taxi companies say they welcome the new initiative, but most of them were reluctant to comment on whether the new system will translate into more bookings as it is still early days.
One thing is for sure: The biggest winners are the commuters.
Assistant manager Agnes Seng, 24, says: ‘Instead of trying to call all taxi companies when I can’t get through, now I just dial one number.
‘After all, I just need to know whether I can get a Singapore Taxi, irrespective of the company.’