Monday, November 26, 2007

I love Comfort Cab

Ever since last Monday, I have been really really looking forward to being able to get taxis with greater ease. Or at least being able to call taxi with greater ease.

Unfortunately, I believe the regulations have simply pushed taxi drivers into a higher level of innovation. I understand the basic concept of creativity within our respective fields of expertise, but this is getting ridiculous.

Last Saturday at noon, a group of various assorted strangers stood at the side of Bayshore Road trying to flag taxis. They stood, they flagged, they watched as SH8201U (? I was so angry my memory may have blanked out) sped past with nary a passenger within and the 'available' light beaming brightly.

The same group stared blankly at SHA6557X which was parked barely 10 metres away with its red 'Hired' sign on. It was parked. It was empty. But it was 'Hired'. There it sat for 10 minutes whilst we stood and perspired and tried our best to get a goddamn taxi.

Finally, I called 6552 1111. Just as I got an automated message that taxi no. SHA6557X. would be coming to pick me up in 5 minutes, that same taxi that I had been sitting empty in front of me for the past 10 minutes whilst I carried my son flashed the on-call sign, drove up and picked me up.

I called 6552 1111 through a red haze of rage to tell them about this. "What would you like me to do" said the operator, sounding perplexed. "I would like you to take down the numbers" said me in red rage. "Ok. I will do that." she said, calmly, vaguely, like this actually mattered at all.


At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why dont you try writing in to the newspapers?

At 2:59 PM, Blogger squawks said...

While I do understand the difficulties these taxi drivers face in terms of rising fuel prices, I think it is outgrageous for them to behave the way they do.

It is unacceptable for a customer to flag empty cab after empty cab as they whizz pass nonchalently.

I am a firm supporter of strong action against them. I think that these people should be permanantly banned from driving a taxi after being complained against three times.

We need to send them a strong message.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I was in your position, i'll sue comfort for negligence.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger dlanorpi said...

It's due to exorbitant surcharges imposed by economists without business training.

I don't see this issue in HK where there's only a HK$5 call booking surcharge and HK$15 starting fare. No peak hour, no mid-night, no CBD, etc.

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Singapore should follow a similar system in England where anyone who needs a cab has to call for a cab, and there are NO booking fees.

I really do think the problem lies with booking fees, and we are better off without it.


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Chris said...

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At 9:28 PM, Anonymous xizor2000 said...

It high time we do away with all the surcharges. If they keep complaining that it is hard to make a living, here's some news for them, it's hard for us to a living too so why do they expect us to make it easier for them?!

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Desmond Lim said...

I don't think we can totally blame the taxi drivers. It is just the system they are caught it.

The powers that be should actually sit down for once and think about this problem that we have. I mean even a "lowly Singaporean blogger" (as compared to our "elites") can think of it throughly (Taxi problem the result of 3 deadly sins).

As stated, our gahmen thinks that things can be solved just by throwing money at it. Sorry but the world is not black and white and it is definitely not so simple.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous firereaver said...

Hihi! You can always demand that the driver do not charge you the extra booking surcharge. :)

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Linus said...

That's pretty normal ... have you seen ghosts boarding taxis? I have ...

Try boarding one before surcharges kick in and you see taxis suddenly turn from Available to Hired in the midst of a major road with no one in sight in the cab ...

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a matter of demand and supply. The flagdown rate for taxis (issit still $2.50?) is way too low and set by the operators. When price is artificially low, demand will outstrip supply and taxis will wait for calls with surcharge since it is more lucrative. I believe the only way to solve the problem is to increase the flagdown rate to say $8 - hopefully after the adjustment we can get a real equilirium price where demand meets supply based on real economics fundamentals

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so long as the cab companies and the drivers themselves continue to make more money with booking fees than without, and we continue to call taxis than to wait for one.. there is no reason for the present situation to change.

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 8:58 PM, Blogger Ah Tiong said...

This tip from a friend of mine.

As soon as you board a cab, ask that you would like a receipt at the end of the journey, even before you state your destination.

Does 2 things; he's less likely to literally take you for a ride, and you have a record if you would like to complain.

And why would you board a rogue cab anyways?

Yes, trains and buses are your friends.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trains and busses? you can try waiting for a bus and see how much of a 'friend' these trying times are. Since the advent of the SBS trains, it's a ridiculous wait for these slow coaches and not to mention they drive ridiculously slowly.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Indiana said...

Drop all surcharges, have a $3 flat fee for calling, make Taxi's ERP exempt, and lift the price per km for the journey, and lower company fees.

Make the system one where in order to make money the cab needs to actually drive with a passenger and not sit "hidden' waiting for a call out fee.

At 1:20 AM, Blogger The Mama said...

do you realise that taxi drivers in singapore are actually among the "not so rich" people in Singapore--at least they make far less money than lawyers per hour on average? my landlord in singapore used to drive a taxi and it is exhausting work -- sometimes they can drive for hours without making any money. instead of complaining, what about thinking of it as a charitable contribution to a man who perhaps did not have all the opportunities for educational advancement that you did?

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous mkwe said...

Mama - you are right - they are underpaid. Taxis are cheap in Singapore.

Indie - Right on the button! Damn simple really.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous aven said...

It's sad.. the things that Singaporeans complain about.

Life just isn't perfect. Boo hoo.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger gremlin said...

and your photos are gorgeous. there. can't log in to flickr to comment hence this. now can I pls have the CD? I have to print hard copies and display them EVERYwhere. do you have lobang to do poster sized ones? would love to. help.

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous xizor2000 said...

Here's some news for you, 'the mama'. It doesn't fit the puzzle when you said they are not so rich, and yet could afford to hide to wait for call. Above which, it is equally hard for everyone else who needs a cab to make their own money (those who makes easy money probably has their own chauffeurs). So why in the world should anyone be making it easy for cabbies to make money, or be charitable to them? You going to be charitable to us all?

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anti Taxi Driver said...

I hope you have made a formal complaint via email to Comfort. If each and every one of us takes the little bit of effort to lodge a formal complaint, it will weed out the errant drivers and create a better fleet of taxis.

For more horror stories about these creatures we call taxi drivers, please visit the website

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous terrylmt said...

The number to call is 65524525.

That's their customer service hotline. Handles complaints as well.

At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scary Double headed man

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comfort Cab have monkeys as drivers.

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