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SINGAPORE'S Land Transport Authority (LTA) unveiled on Wednesday more measures to improve the availability of taxis in the city-state.
It noted that while more taxis are plying the roads and getting hired, there is still room for improvement. Hence, the need for some refinements to its third year taxi availability (TA) standards.
From Jan 1, 2015, during the core peak periods of 7am to 11am and 5pm to 11pm, the minimum percentage of taxis required on the roads will be increased to 85 per cent of each taxi company's fleet, from the current 80 per cent. This standard was set when the TA framework was announced in 2012.
However, given that demand during the shoulder peak periods is lower than that of the core peak periods, LTA will not be raising the minimum percentage of taxis required on the roads during 6am to 7am and 11pm to 12 midnight time-slots.
The minimum percentage of taxis plying at least 250km daily will also be increased to 85 per cent on weekdays from the current 80 per cent, as announced in 2012. However, this requirement will be lowered to 75 per cent on weekends and on public holidays due to the relatively lower demand.
LTA said it will allow taxi companies more time to adjust to the higher third year standards.
Since implementation of taxi availability standards on Jan 1, 2013, the percentage of taxis on the roads during peak hours has increased to 87 per cent in the first nine months of this year, from about 82 per cent in 2012. This translates to over 1,400 more taxis being available to commuters during these hours.
The daily taxi utilisation rate, or the proportion of total taxi mileage under hire, has also increased, to 68 per cent in the first nine months of 2014, compared to about 65 per cent in 2013.
"These trends indicate that more taxis are plying the roads, and more commuters are able to get a taxi. For taxi drivers, the rise in taxi utilisation rate means that there has been less empty cruising, and they are earning revenue during a larger proportion of the time spent plying the roads,'' the LTA said.
In the first nine months of 2014, Comfort, CityCab and Premier consistently met the required standard in terms of percentage of taxis on the roads during peak periods. At least 60 per cent of their taxi fleet were on the roads during the shoulder peak periods of 6am to 7am and 11pm to 12 midnight, and at least 80 per cent during the core peak periods of 7am to 11am and 5pm to 11pm.
SMRT and Trans-Cab consistently met the standard during the shoulder peak periods and most of the core peak periods except for the 7am to 8am and 10pm to 11pm time-slots. Prime did not meet the standard for both the core peak and shoulder peak periods.