There are now more rental cars on the road due to the growth of ride-booking services like Uber and GrabCar.
Land Transport Authority (LTA) statistics show that there was a 38 per cent spike in rental car numbers – from 17,786 in August 2014 to 24,573 this August.
Rental cars refer to those leased out for personal use or for private chauffeuring purposes.
Industry experts say the latter is the likely cause of the surge in rental car numbers, given the growth of Uber and GrabCar.
These ride-booking companies are seen to be competing with taxis, which led the Government to announce a review in Oct on whether they have been competing fairly.
Drivers who sign up to drive for Uber and GrabCar choose to rent a car rather than own one, as it is expensive. Also, rental firms charge as little as $60 a day for a basic saloon model and look after the maintenance and servicing of the cars.
Industry observers believe many new car rental companies are being set up to serve the Uber and GrabCar market. Due to limited financial ability to acquire new cars, they buy vehicles due to be scrapped and convert them from a personal-use classification to one for rental.
According to LTA figures, there were 3,143 conversions to a private-hire classification for the first half of this year- around 63 per cent more than the 1,933 for the whole of last year.
National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der- Horng calls the boom of private chauffeur cars an “unhealthy trend” which could undermine the taxi industry.
He said that these cars act almost like a “cab booking service”, and may not be as well-maintained as a taxi, leading to safety issues for passengers.
Despite the controversy arising from private “taxis”, commuters say they have benefited from them. “During the peak hours, when it is hard to get a cab, these private cars help to fill the gap,” said investment analyst Ong Boon Han.
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Source: “GrabCar, Uber fuel surge in rental car numbers in Singapore”, (The Straits Times, 12 October 2015)
Photo Source: The Straits Times. Copyright © 2015 Singapore Press Holdings. Reprinted with Permission.