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No surge pricing now, but a flat-fare structure similar to metered fares soon: ComfortDelGro

THERE will be no surge pricing for now, but a flat-fare option based on current fare structures will be introduced in two to three weeks' time for the mobile app users of Singapore's largest taxi company, ComfortDelGro.

This comes even as Singapore's third-largest taxi company, SMRT, said that it will be introducing surge pricing, which incorporates real-time demand and supply for its services into their fare structure.

Earlier on Friday, SMRT, which has about 3,400 taxis, announced a partnership with Grab to introduce the dynamic-pricing system.

Unlike metered fares where the total sum is made known only at the end of the trip, fares in the dynamic-pricing system will be displayed upfront to users before accepting the ride.

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They account for travel time, distance, booking fees, and "real-time demand and supply for taxis", or the surge component.

Other taxi companies were also given the go-ahead by the authorities on Friday to introduce surge pricing, or "dynamic pricing".

ComfortDelGro owns Singapore's two largest taxi companies, Comfort Taxi and CityCab. Together, they have about 17,000 taxis.

In response to queries from The Business Times on whether the "flat-fare" structure that ComfortDelGro looks to introduce will include a "surge" component, group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan made a clear distinction between surge pricing and a flat-fare structure.

She said: "We are pleased that the Public Transport Council and the Land Transport Authority have given taxi operators the flexibility to introduce surge pricing. We do not, however, intend to roll this out for now.

"Instead, we will introduce a flat-fare structure which will be similar to our taxi metered fares for trips booked via our mobile applications. This new fare option will roll out in about two to three weeks' time."