Singapore taxi rules

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Yada Yada, Apr 24, 2006.

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  1. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    A funny thing happened this evening when I arrived back in SIN from KUL.

    After collecting my bag from the belt and walking through the door to the taxi rank outside, a woman walking in the door asked "do you want a taxi?". I said yes and then she said "flat fee, $35.00" and pointed to the cab, which was a shiny white Mercedes.

    I accepted and walked over to the cab, where the driver began to load my bag into the boot.

    Next I hear "excuse me sir..." from behind. I turn to find myself facing two policemen! :shock:

    "Yes?" I responded.
    "Did that women just ask if you wanted a taxi?" they asked.
    "Uh, yes although I was walking towards her desk", I responded.
    "Thank you", they said, and raced back inside in hot pursuit!

    After we hopped into the car, I asked the driver what had happened. He wasn't making a lot of sense, but it sounded like I should not have been solicited for a taxi without being quoted a price up front. He said the police were making it a bit difficult for them to get business and wanted to know if I would help them if the police tried to charge the woman! :shock:

    I quizzed the driver about the Taxi rules but could not quite get a straight answer about what they were. Does anyone know what they are? :?

    Anyway, I gave him my card as I wanted to pre-book my ride back to the airport on Weds evening, so it will be interesting if I get asked to help her get off from a fine!
     

  2. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    A cab from the airport to any hotel should be ~$SG15/20.

    A "premium" cab should be around $35SGD flat fare.

    Presume they have rules like Sydney airport over where taxis can be hired, who can tout etc - and they are enforced.

    I know there are signs all round arrivals giving you the prices and warning about touts.

    Not sure what happened in your case. Tried to look for some legislation, but couldn't find anything relevant.
     
  3. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    SIN has 2 taxi services operating; one is the regular normal metered taxi which operates from the rank and another premium one which uses Mercs and London Cabs which has to be booked at the Limo desk" and has a fixed rate of $35

    I believe, quite rightly too, that the limo people are not allowed to tout in the manner described by you; a bit like the distinction between mini cabs and taxis in the uk where taxis can ply for hire whilst mini cabs must be booked by the customer and may not tout for business

    Dave
     
  4. Damien

    Damien Member

    Aug 29, 2005
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    Both Mal and Dave Noble are correct. You must line up for a taxi at SIN - they are not allowed to approach you at all. They must have been enforcing this quite a lot recently, because I have noticed that I am not approached as often as I used to be.

    In any case, the taxi lines at SIN are much more efficient (and therefore quicker) than anything I have experienced in Australia, so waiting is not a problem for me.
     
  5. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    I've used the limo service (at the price quoted above) a number of times (albeit the last time was almost 3 years ago). From my recollection, when you "arrive" in SIN (after clearing Customs, picking up your bags from the luggage belt and walk out of the glass doors), they have a white booth straight ahead (at the left hand side of the hire car desks).

    I've tended to use them when in a hurry or there have been a long line at Customs (knowing this translates to a ot of people exiting the airport).

    I think it is illegal to tout like that in SIN (you have to approach them at the desk), so I hope the police got their woman...
     
  6. one9

    one9 Active Member

    Sep 14, 2005
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    More efficient - Yes
    Quicker - No

    The longest wait in a taxi queue that I have ever had was at Singapore airport. It was at least 40 minutes. Why I didn't catch a premium cab is beyond me. The queue was extremely long.

    Singapore taxis frustrate me. It is very organised, but whenever you try to catch a taxi from a populated venue, there is always a queue. If you take a lot of taxis in populated areas, then you end up in lots of queues.

    The taxis are cheap. I would hope that Singapore will increase the taxi fare to lessen demand.

    Futhermore when I was in Singapore (a week or two ago) there was an article in the paper about the taxi problem. Singapore is a very controlling and organised government. They have an approved accident rate for taxis. ie. Taxis are allowed to have 1 accident for each X amount of km they travel. So if a taxi company has more than 1 accident for each X amount of km then they are fined. Similary they are fined if less than a certain percentage of phone calls are answered within a certain time frame. And they also do many other tests and fine accordingly. Most (all) of the taxi companies are fined regularly for what would be common place in Australia.
     
  7. Optics

    Optics Member

    Mar 14, 2006
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    Are there any rules in Singapore that are not enforced?

    I'll never forget the sign in the toilet of one hotel warning of a (substantial) fine for not flushing the urinal :shock:

    You've got to admit though, they do keep things running smoothly.
     
  8. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    When I arrived at the office this morning I asked my colleagues and they confirmed that taxi drivers are not allowed to solicit for business. Mystery solved. I have no idea if the police managed to catch the woman doing it but they sure ran off quickly!

    I can understand the logic beind the law. I did not find it a problem at all, but having just spent the weekend in KL where soliciting on the street is a way of life, this was nothing.

    I normally take the regular taxis upon arrival at SIN, and have never had to wait - I must be lucky I guess. :D I have had to wait at other locations in Singapore though, e.g. hotels. This morning while I waited for my pickup (by a colleague), the queue at the front of my hotel was huge and the taxis very scarce. I was glad I didn't have to wait for one.

    I took the limo last night because I was tired, and after riding around all weekend in some fairly disgusting Malaysian taxis I felt like a bit of comfort! 8)
     
  9. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    I must have been lucky too as the most I've had to wait, in a lot of visits, for regular cab at SIN is maybe 2 minutes (and I'm being generous here).
     
  10. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    A little taxi tip (only kinda related to this topic!) for when in SIN.

    Just like in Australia, if a premium taxi is at a rank, then the meter comes on and you pay normal rates rather than their rates.

    One time I was in SIN and leaving my hotel. Premium taxi pulls up and I hop in. Hotel staff told driver to put on the meter.

    I was too busy to check (way too early in the morning :D ), so enjoyed the ride.

    Get to airport, "$SG35 please". Meter had not been turned on.

    Couldn't be bothered argueing at that point (esp. as I was just about to leave the country and was already at the airport later than desired). Did ask for a receipt to make a later complaint, but only got a scribble on a paper receipt, not the electronic dockets they give out normally.

    ... So something to watch out for.
     
  11. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    I was walking around outside SIN airport on Wednesday evening and there was nobody in the queue(s). I was asked on 3 occassions if I wanted a taxi before I went back inside.

    I guess I am lucky as well as I have never had a problem getting a taxi in Singapore at any time of the day or night.
     
  12. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    This practice is endemic in KL. Many drivers try to avoid putting the meter on. For short trips I don't mind if the quoted fare is OK but for longer trips if they refuse I just get back out and find another cab. The best thing to do is open the door and ask before you get in.

    I took a flat rate fare from JW Marriott in KL to KUL yesterday evening instead of catching the KLIA Ekspres because the difference in cost was equivalent to AUD8.00, and it saved my daughter and I from struggling to get up and down escalators etc with all the shopping she had done! :shock:
     
  13. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Yeah it is endemic in a lot of tourist markets ... Lisbon is a great one, as is Bangkok and KL. I'm sure there are many others!!

    BKK is the only place I've been pretty much abused by a cabby for wanting the meter on! He started rambling on about how he has to make money etc etc (was going to say Yada, Yada... lol). We'd already started rolling, and once again was heading to the airport so wasn't going to change cabs.

    I think as soon as you mention "Airport" or are at the "Airport", the dodgy side of some cabbies comes out. Always best to know the prices you should be paying and some of the local tricks that are used.
     
  14. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Funny you mention this story. Before I could basically go anywhere in BKK in a taxi for less than 300Baht if they use the meter. But recently they seem to abuse this for the tourists as they are only interested in negotiating a very high fare.

    Even airport taxi where it says you pay driver 50Baht + meter, the cab drivers refuse to use the meter but negotiate their own fare. I stayed at Quality Suites which is less than 10 minutes from airport and most wanted 250Baht for the trip. I managed to haggle this price down to anywhere between 100 and 160Baht which is still expensive as the meter is only around 70Baht.
     
  15. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    With my last three trips from the airport, the cabbies in BKK have been honest and did things correctly. I even know the exact range of Baht I should be paying to travel to the Hilton! :D

    Generally they are ok from the airport. Heading towards there, a farang must scream "rip me off" to them. I've had the "I have no change" story when handing over a 500Baht note for a ~250 Baht fare (inc. tolls), as well as a cabbie turning off the highway at the incorrect spot. He thought I hadn't noticed of course, but if he travelled any further down the wrong way, I would have said something. I've been there enough to know the routes to and from the hotels I stay in.

    As I said earlier, a tourist has to have their wits about them when heading from or to an airport in a foreign town. This includes knowing how the meter operates and when it is switched on, as well as an approximate amount they should be paying.

    It would be even scarier if for example SIN had a law against people booking taxi's from touts. Then Yada Yada could have been in some real trouble without even knowing it!
     
  16. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    When you go downtown from the airport it is fine as they know they will get around 150-200Baht + tolls from you.

    When you stay close to the airport they do not want the job as the 100 or so Baht is not worth it for them especially if they have been waiting in the taqi queue for any length of time. I do feel sorry for them but also don't want to give them handouts. I even tried the trick of heading to departures upstairs to get a taxi and after about 15 rejections I gave up and went back downstairs to the taxi queue.
     
  17. tuapekastar

    tuapekastar Established Member

    Mar 16, 2005
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    There is (or at least was recently) a third option. "Maxicabs", which are minibuses operated by the same people, from the same desks, as the "limo" cabs are, but with a flat $7 fee per pax. What they did with me and 2 others (people not known to me) late at night was say the next maxicab would be be 60 mins plus before departure, and tried to push each of us into separate limo cabs at $35 a pop. I insisted we would only wait "so long", and ended up waiting about 20 mins before our maxicab left with 3 pax paying $7 each (they can hold maybe 5 or 6 people). For obvious reasons they're not keen on sending off half full maxicabs but if they advertise the service then they should honour it. I can handle a short wait in order to pay $7 versus $35 (though much longer and I would have caught a regular cab).

    Regarding long queues for regular cabs in Singapore I certainly noticed this phenomenon, especially in the Orchard Rd area. It used to be that in Singapore you only to had to "think" the word taxi, and about 6 would suddenly appear looking for a fare, almost anytime/anywhere, except when it was raining. How times change.
     
  18. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    The only times we've had problems getting a cab in Singapore was after a lot of bars closed on chinese new year. Took us about 45 minutes to get a cab.
     
  19. acampbel

    acampbel Member

    Oct 31, 2005
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    Another point to be aware of ...

    Most taxis will take credit cards (though it pays to ask first) whereas most limos are cash only. I got caught by this a couple of years ago, long after I had given up changing money at Singapore.

    Fortunately the hotel was happy enough to pay the driver and put the $35 on my bill, but that was the last time I took the limo option.

    Cheers,

    AC
     
  20. ksthommo

    ksthommo Active Member

    Jul 4, 2004
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    Once upon a time if the queue was long in Singapore, used to be able to head up to departures and jump in a cab that has just dropped off passengers. No longer.
     
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