Taxi industry takes a hit: Singapore’s cab population drops to an 8-year low

Photo: Nicolas Lannuzel/Flickr
Photo: Nicolas Lannuzel/Flickr

If you’re one of the few remaining people in Singapore who don’t use ride-hailing apps like Uber or Grab, you may have noticed a significant drop in the number of taxis islandwide over the past couple years. Singapore’s taxi industry has indeed suffered a hit, with the cab population dropping to an eight-year low of 25,699 as of June 30.

According to data from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the numbers of cabs driving around the island has fallen more than 10 percent ever since Uber and Grab came to town. In comparison, the cab population was at 28,736 in 2014, a year after the two services launched in Singapore. Since then, the numbers have been dwindling, and things aren’t looking up for the industry.

Even investors are feeling the uncertainty, as ComfortDelGro’s stock price plummeted to a three-year low of $2.26 yesterday.

According to The Straits Times, the number of idle taxis just sitting around went up to 9.1 percent in May, which is almost twice the amount at the same time last year. If you look at the data before Uber and Grab, the unhired rate for taxis hardly ever went above three percent.

It seems like many cabbies are also leaving their jobs, due to the rise in popularity of private-hire cars and the inadequate actions of the taxi industry in response to the decrease in demand for cabs. The number of rental cars in Singapore has more than tripled to 63,259 since 2013 — out of that number, 50,000 are estimated to be used for private-hire vehicles.

Bad news indeed for the five cab companies in Singapore: ComfortDelGro, Trans-Cab, Premier, Prime and SMRT (which is in talks with Grab to sell off its taxi business).

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