'I've waited for about 30 minutes': Long waiting times at taxi stands during CNY period, fares at least double for private-hire vehicles

'I've waited for about 30 minutes': Long waiting times at taxi stands during CNY period, fares at least double for private-hire vehicles
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Visiting relatives is an essential part of Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations, but some may have had to switch up their schedules when their transportation is delayed — and ride-hailing alternatives too expensive to consider.

The CNY period has seen fares for private hire vehicles (PHV) at least double, with many would-be passengers having to wait 10 to 20 minutes for the alternative of a taxi. But they too, are in short supply during the festive period, 8world reported on Sunday (Feb 11).

According to 8world, a 10-minute ride can cost up to $30 on ride-hailing platforms currently — about two to three times more expensive than usual. Comparatively, ComfortDelGro taxis cost about $10 for the same journey.

"An old granny like me doesn't know how to use Grab," a middle-aged woman at a taxi stand in Clementi admitted to 8world. "I want to visit my friends, but I've already waited about 30 minutes [for a cab]."

Another woman told the Chinese publication that she had been waiting for about 15 minutes.

"Usually, we just need to wait a bit before we get a taxi, especially since there aren't that many people queuing," she commented.

Even for those who are able to get a ride using ride-hailing platforms, the situation is far from ideal.

A young woman at Ang Mo Kio Hub shared that she had reached there via a Tada hire as Grab was more expensive.

However, when she wanted to leave, she was unable to find a ride even with Grab.

Matter of time

Despite demand seemingly outstripping supply, drivers interviewed by 8world reported a dip in takings during the start of the festive season.

Speaking with 8world, a taxi driver shared that business was "dead" on Saturday, but things gradually picked up on Sunday.

"Today is better than yesterday," he simply stated.

Explaining how he's adapted to the changes in demand during the CNY period, another cabby told 8world that that they're less active in the morning.

"Not many people are out and about in the morning, so I don't drive," the cabby shared. "When the afternoon comes around and people start visiting relatives, then we'll start to drive."

It wasn't just drivers who were less active during the first day of CNY, however — Saturday morning also saw complaints that ComfortDelGro's booking application was down, persisting from the evening the day before.

"What happened? Why every time your app in festive season breakdown?" A user questioned ComfortDelGro on the taxi company's Facebook page.

"Wow, app also going on holiday," another jabbed.

AsiaOne has contacted ComfortDelGro for more information.

ALSO READ: 'I might as well work at McDonald's': Taxi drivers complain about new scheme for $1,800 base monthly salary


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