Commuters have 'benefited from this competition,' says PTC

Commuters have 'benefited from this competition,' says PTC
Commuters are marginally more satisfied with private-hire car services than taxis, a Public Transport Council (PTC) survey shows.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Commuters are marginally more satisfied with private-hire car services than taxis, a Public Transport Council (PTC) survey shows.

A poll of 1,526 respondents found that 95.8 per cent of them were satisfied with private-hire services such as Uber and Grab.

A slightly smaller 94.4 per cent of respondents were satisfied with taxi services.

Respondents were also asked to rate, out of 10, private-hire and taxi services in the following categories: Waiting time, ease of booking, information on services, ride comfort, driver's knowledge of routes, driver's service and safety.

The category with the biggest disparity was the ease of booking - with private-hire services scoring 8.1 over taxis' 7.2.

Commuters were most satisfied with safety for both: private-hire cars were rated at 8.2 and taxis at 7.8.

The private-car hire services notched an overall mean score of 7.9 while taxis registered a slightly lower score of 7.5, reported The Straits Times.

Overall, respondents rated both taxis and private-hire cars a favourable 7.7 out of 10.

Assistant Professor Terence Fan, who specialises in transport at Singapore Management University, told The New Paper that he was not surprised private-hire cars were rated higher.

"Among the other factors, private-hire car services are still relatively new here, so it could be the novelty factor," he said.

He noted that taxi ridership had fallen in the last few years.

PTC said the average daily ridership of 967,000 in 2013 dropped to 954,000 last year.

Assistant Professor Fan said: "The drop means that people are not just taking Uber and Grab when they are unable to get a taxi. Private-hires are first choice now above taxis.

"This means taxi companies will have to improve and innovate, and it's a healthy stage of economy for consumers."

But Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport deputy chairman Ang Hin Kee stressed that both taxis and private-hire cars were rated over 90 per cent in terms of customer satisfaction.

"It's still a very good outcome for both. My concern is that the companies become too obsessed with these customer satisfaction ratings and (go hard) on drivers who don't meet these standards," he told TNP.

"I hope it's about developing the people and not avoiding a low score."


PTC chairman Richard Magnus said in a blog post: "Disruptive business models and technologies... have caused an upheaval in the point-to-point transport services landscape.

"Taxi companies and taxi drivers have responded by upping their game and raising their service standards. Commuters have benefited from this competition," he added.

The PTC said its study found that out of all rides taken by respondents over a seven-day period, about half were private-hire car rides while the other half were taxi rides.

It said the decline in taxi ridership was marginal over the past few years, and this implied that the majority of the private-hire car trips were likely catering to new or unmet demand.

Read also: Taxi firms tweak rental deals in face of private hire disruption
ComfortDelGro looking to simplify taxi fares
SMRT, Uber, Grab on commuters' minds

This article was first published on Feb 14, 2017.
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