While there have been reports of "vanishing taxis" and suggestions on how their drivers should be penalised, there is another group of people contributing to the taxi shortage problem: "vanishing passengers".
There are passengers who make call bookings to multiple taxi companies when they need only one taxi.
Whichever taxi arrives first will get the job and the other bookings will then be cancelled.
This is a selfish act.
When the passenger makes, say, four bookings at a time, there will be four taxis responding.
During the time the four taxis take to reach the pickup point, they are unable to pick up street fares and take other call bookings.
If the caller had made only one booking, the other three taxis would have been free to pick up street fares or take other call bookings.
There are also passengers who make call bookings but then flag down an available taxi that is passing by and cancel the call booking.
These acts are a waste of taxi resources and deny other passengers a taxi service.
It seems that nothing is being done to curb such selfish practices that add to the taxi woes.
Anthony Lim Fang Chek
This article was first published on Sept 29, 2014.
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