As it is, taxi drivers are complaining that their earnings have dipped due to competition from private-hire car drivers.
Now, SMRT has gone one step further in adding to the burden by imposing a 40 cents an hour “cleaning surcharge” on its part-time taxi drivers.
The drivers received this message from SMRT:
“With effect from 1 Feb, you may visit any of our appointed cleaning kiosks (located at 30 Esso stations) to have your taxi cleaned up. The cleaning fee of $0.40/hr is included in all Taxi Share bookings.”
The part-time taxi drivers are under SMRT’s Taxi Share scheme and rent taxis in 3-hourly blocs.
Hourly rental costs between S$6.80 and S$12.80, with prices currently pegged at S$5.80 to S$7.80 due to an on-going promotion.
Some part-time taxi drivers have baulked at the increased cost, saying that 40 cents per hour would add up to S$9.60 if they rented a taxi for a day – more than double the cost of one standard car wash for a taxi.
Others say it’s not practical that they have to waste time queuing at appointed “cleaning kiosks” to get their taxi cleaned after every booking as this could mean that one taxi gets washed several times a day.