With a rise in marketing efforts by third-party taxi booking applications, the taxi industry has been given a run for its money. Some taxi drivers are also feeling constrained by laws governing the industry, and fear that private drivers, operating under fewer requirements, are eating into their business.
For example, taxi and car booking platform, Uber, has been offering promotion codes for free Uber rides in the vicinity of taxi stands.
Such tactics are considered legal – but the practice has antagonised some cabbies who see it as indirect touting.
Mr Philip Yap, a 47-year-old taxi driver of about six to seven years, said: “I don’t mind competition, but at least be fair to us. We have to go through classes, exams, and (frequent) medical check-ups ... everything to get our licence. And what about these private car drivers? They are using loopholes to operate (their business).” He added that he was considering switching sides and becoming a private car driver instead, given operational costs for a taxi driver are higher.
Last month, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan tasked Senior Minister of State (Transport) Ng Chee Meng to look into creating a level playing field for taxi drivers and private-car sharing apps. He acknowledged that a balanced approach is called for.
How can a level playing field for taxi drivers and private-car sharing apps be encouraged? Should there be more regulations governing third-party taxi booking apps? Share your thoughts with us here!
Source: “Cabbies cry foul over Uber’s ‘overly aggressive marketing efforts’” (TODAY, 12 November 2015)