Nov 28, 2013

    Taxi math hints at shorter waits soon

    MORE taxis on the road during peak hours should make for shorter waits. And diverting taxis to stands with long queues should make matters even smoother.

    Numbers and logic appear to back the latest drive to cut waiting times for cabs. But some fear that taxi drivers could play spoiler.

    Starting January, the six operators - Comfort, SMRT, Premier, CityCab, Prime and Trans-Cab, who own about 28,000 taxis between them - will be required to ply 80 per cent of their fleet during peak hours, up from 70 per cent now.

    This means there could be another 2,800 taxis on the road during peak hours.

    Comfort, CityCab and SMRT will also be allowed to increase their fleet size by up to 1 per cent in the first half of the year. That could potentially add another 200-odd taxis to the road.

    The Land Transport Authority is also rolling out a trial to monitor real-time passenger waiting times at five heavy-traffic taxi stands. Armed with this information, operators can dispatch taxis to locations with long queues.

    The one-year trial kicks off in July next year. The stands involved are the ones at Lucky Plaza, Paragon Shopping Centre, OG Building, International Plaza and Hitachi Towers.

    Commuter Jane Lim, 60, who sometimes waits up to 30 minutes to get a cab in the Orchard area, said: "There will still be some drivers who will pick up passengers only when they get a booking."