Taxi and private hire fares should be left to market forces?

Mr Harry Ong believes that taxi and private hire fares should be left to market forces, that high fares will attract more drivers thus driving fares down. (ST Forum, 11/5/22)

I am afraid his belief that the free market will correct itself is badly misplaced.

The fact is that many sectors of the free market have been cornered by big corporations which then exercise that monopolistic power to squeeze the market.

For a short while, Uber and Grab were competing for market share and slashing fares, to the delight of customers. But then, Uber inexplicably sold its business in 2018 to Grab, leaving the latter as the undisputed leader and clearing the path for it to raise fares.

It may seem like Uber had lost the fight, but it actually was a win-win arrangement because Uber acquired a 27.5% stake in Grab and its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sits on Grab’s board.

One would have thought that this would never have passed the anti-collusion test, but the authorities allowed it.

The situation in Singapore is compounded by the fact that Temasek is either a direct or indirect shareholder in many of these corporations – on the one hand, it is an investment company, yet on the other, it has an outsized influence on government policies.

The number of private hire cars have ballooned from around a few hundred in 2012 to more than 70,000 today. Has fares gone down? No, instead they have gone steadily up as they are not controlled by market forces, as Mr Harry Ong believes, but rather monopolistic forces.


Foong Swee Fong




8 Responses to “Taxi and private hire fares should be left to market forces?”

  • xoxo:

    Out of the extra $3,what portion goes to *taxi uncle* and what goes to *uncle COMFORT* or *uncle LEE*?

    COMFORTabLEE increases n charges just to collect more money for whatever rea$ons.

    No wonder we have *INFLATED* inflation pu$hing up our COL to the topmost world ranking???

    Another of their *KPI*.

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  • No Alternative meh:

    Still have metered cabs.

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  • Help who?:

    The People are the ones who NEED HELP!

    Not Taxi drivers nor prs!

    The Scs are the Ones who need to carry a rifle to protect some’ not ‘germane’ miniSTIRERs,eh?

    How about giving $3/- to scs each day?

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  • Harder Truths:

    Make communism great again!

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  • Expensive ride:

    Taxi is getting expensive here…

    Sometimes really have to take a cab…but the price is crazy high.

    How to reduce ?

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  • Taxi & PHV drivers are idiots:

    Taxi drivers, PHV drivers are all pro PAP. They vote PAP 100%.

    They complain to everyone when they talk while driving, and
    you get the impression that they dislike the authorities.

    But they are all 2 headed snakes.
    They hide between 5pm to 8pm
    They hide again between 11pm till 12pm
    They accept bookings but fail to show up blaming the GPS.

    They get fuel discounts but give the impression that they are paying high.
    They get rent discounts but the give the impression that they are suffering
    They get extremely good insurance coverage and service but they dont say it.

    Now they get $8 above the metered fare just to loiter at Changi.

    I dislike all taxi drivers & PHV drivers… scum worse than mongrels.

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  • opposition dude:

    So here we now have the HARD TRUTH as one dead founder used in a book. The hard truth that when you are the biggest F there is basically NO competition, there is no need to work so hard since you are the one controlling the market. Just like Intel and AMD over their cpus.

    Gojek is a bit player so it’s off Grab’s radar for now. The majority of Grab’s drivers won’t leave since the taxi companies aren’t attractive enough to drive for so they just stick with Grab.

    What is needed is another Uber entrant but whether this will happen or not remains to be seen. We have already seen how public transport fares shoot up over the years since the trains and buses are all government controlled and thus, no competition from anybody.

    The next election is a few years away fellow citizens!

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  • xoxo:

    Walan$! A humble bowl of dried kway teow costs $6.50 at a food-court in Oasis complex at Punggol.
    How the ordinary sgs going to survive.
    This is not abalone or sharks’ fin noodle.
    Just bak chor?

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