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    Mar 31, 2016

    Shorter wait at 12 major taxi stands in city: Survey

    IF THAT wait for a taxi in the city seems more bearable, it is probably because it is shorter.

    The average waiting times at a dozen major cab stands in the city have fallen compared with two years ago, according to data shared by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

    LTA said this could be due to more taxis plying the roads and ride-hailing apps helping to ease customer demand.

    Out of the 28 taxi stands which LTA surveys on a monthly basis, 12 registered drops in waiting times of between 1 and 5 minutes last year. Meanwhile, average waiting times at 11 of the cab stands stayed constant while the situation has got worse at the remaining five.

    The taxi stand at Far East Plaza recorded the biggest dip. Commuters waited an average of seven minutes to get into a cab last year, compared with 12 minutes in 2013.

    Over at Ngee Ann City - also a hot spot - the average waiting time has dipped from 12 minutes to eight. The survey is done every month, on selected days and at hourly intervals between 5pm and midnight.

    An LTA spokesman said the stricter taxi availability standards could have helped shorten the wait. Under this framework which started in 2013, taxi operators are required to have the bulk of their fleets on the road during the peak hours, and for their taxis to clock a minimum mileage daily. Otherwise, they face financial penalties.

    The availability of chauffeured services such as Uber and GrabCar has also "provided commuters with more options", said the spokesman.

    Clarissa Felicia, 40, a housewife, said it takes about 10 minutes to get a taxi in the city.

    "So I use GrabCar and Uber when I see that (queue) lines at the taxi stands are long.

    "These apps tend to be faster than waiting for a taxi.

    "I can get a private car in five minutes," she added.

    While it is easier to get a cab at some taxi stands in the city, commuters are waiting a bit longer at five places: Tanglin Shopping Centre, Suntec Tower 3 and 4, Funan Digita-Life Mall, Havelock Square and Parklane Shopping Mall.

    While waiting times on average have fallen, they still remain relatively high during certain peak periods.

    According to January's survey results, the longest waiting times for a cab are at Paragon Shopping Centre, at 18 minutes between 6pm and 7pm, and at Ngee Ann City, at 15 minutes from 5pm to 6pm.

    Additional reporting by Veena Vinod and Benjamin Tan