Rows of idle Trans-Cab taxis caught on dashcam video reveals possible fate of taxis in Singapore

Rows of idle Trans-Cab taxis caught on dashcam video reveals possible fate of taxis in Singapore
Trans-Cab taxis at the main office at 2 Ang Mo Kio Street 63 on Dec 28, 2016.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

[UPDATE] Trans-Cab has just announced a cut in rental rates of their taxis, in a bid to help lighten the burden of drivers, who have "told the company that third-party apps like Uber and Grab have taken a toll on [their] earnings".

Even if you're not a frequent user of taxis or private-hires, the reality that taxi drivers are facing a harder time due to the competition that came with the emergence of Uber and Grab is one that doesn't need much introduction or background.

While as consumers, we win with a larger variety of services, and promo codes being dished out like it's Christmas every single day, taxi drivers are feeling the heat when it comes to securing their livelihood.

However, recently, Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng announced that changes to the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) Taxi Availability (TA) framework will take place from January 2017, in a bid to level the playing field between private-hires and taxis. The changes will entail that taxis will no longer be required to clock a minimum daily mileage of 250km, and operators will "no longer have to meet availability requirements between 6am to 7am and 11pm to 12am, otherwise known as "shoulder peak periods"".

But of course, the newcomers aren't completely at loggerheads with the taxi companies, as their GrabTaxi and UberTAXI services allow consumers to make taxi booking via their apps.

In fact, Grab announced at the start of September this year that they will be bringing all 7,000 or so Trans-cab drivers onto their platform.

It was Grab's first collaboration with a taxi operator, and Teo Kiang Ang, Trans-cab's Managing Director, explains that they decided on collaborating with Grab as they believe that their technology will be able to bring in more ride bookings for Trans-cab drivers.

Whether or not the playing field will eventually be levelled out with the measures remains to be seen, but a recent dashcam video seems to have revealed that taxi company Trans-cab isn't doing very well currently.

Just an hour or so ago, Facebook page Thelocalsociety uploaded a video of a car cruising in between what seems to be never-ending lines of idle Trans-cab taxis., along with caption "What happen (sic) to Transcab? Lots of cars not taken up for rental. Probably Uber & Grab is hitting hard.".

The time stamp on the video suggests that it was recorded yesterday.

What was even more revealing was the background commentary (of sorts) that came with it, by,we're guessing, a Trans-cab driver going back to the taxi depot to return the car.

Speaking entirely in Hokkien, the owner of the gruff voice didn't say much, but here's a rough translation of the main gist of what he said:

"So many cars ah, siao* liao, siao liao. Trans-cab finished liao." (Siao means crazy in Hokkien)

While we can't be entirely sure if the idle cabs captured on the video truly reflects the reality of Trans-cab and taxi companies in Singapore, it won't be a surprise if it was true, either.

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