Published in St Times Online
SINGAPORE'S transport system is among the best in the world, but its taxi fare structure is bewildering.
Not only is there a multiplicity of surcharges, but there is also no standard flagdown rate. The average passenger is happy to take a standard taxi but often has to pay a higher fare because the first taxi that comes along is a Mercedes or another model that charges a higher flagdown rate.
There should be a standard flagdown rate for all regular-size cabs.
The Singapore Government believes in the free market. They believe that taxi companies should set their own fares and cannot collude to fix a standard fare. (Look at the action taken against the bus companies running services to Malaysia).
The Government's views is misguided. Public services, including taxi fares, must be regulated and standardised. At this least, this should apply to the "standard" taxi service. Taxi companies can operate "premium" services and fix their own fares. Give the choice to commuters to call for a standard taxi service. All taxi stands should operate on the standard fare.
I believe that this is a practical approach.