SINGAPORE - Mr Tan Hee Jian ("Cut ERP rate for taxis"; last Wednesday) suggested that the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) rate for taxis be cut to encourage more cabs to enter the Central Business District (CBD).
The objective of ERP is to manage congestion so traffic remains smooth-flowing. Taxis are subject to ERP because they, like all other vehicles, occupy road space and contribute to congestion.
To encourage cabs to enter the CBD, taxi companies have implemented a city area surcharge that is payable on trips originating from within the CBD, from Monday to Saturday during the peak periods between 5pm and midnight.
As for kerbside pick-ups, we have relaxed the CBD taxi rule to make it easier for cabbies to pick up and drop off passengers along all roads within the CBD, except those with bus lanes during bus lane operation hours and specific roads that are dangerous for all vehicles to stop at any time.
Mr Tan also asked about taxi availability standards, the aim of which is to increase fleet utilisation. These standards are imposed on cab companies based on a proportion of the taxi fleet, and not on driver numbers, and were derived after extensive consultation with the industry.
A balanced and graduated approach has been taken to achieve improvements for commuters while ensuring that the taxi industry is able to transit to the new standards.
Currently, about 80 per cent of the total taxi fleet is able to achieve mileage of more than 250km a day.
On average, if a single-shift taxi driver drives about eight hours a day, he needs to cover only about 30km every hour.
Drivers can consider engaging relief drivers if they feel they are unable to meet these requirements on their own. They can use the newly launched online matching portal at www.onemotoring.com.sg/taxi_matching/ to look for relief drivers and hirers, and vice versa.
Helen Lim (Ms) Director,
Land Transport Authority
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