Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Transport (a) what is the Ministry’s outlook on the impact of rising oil prices on private hire car drivers, cabbies and food delivery riders in the next few months; (b) what is the overall percentage increase in business costs for private hire car drivers in March 2022 compared to the start of the year; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider introducing support packages and nudge platform companies to implement support measures that alleviate the impact of rising oil prices on these drivers.
Mr S Iswaran: The provision of taxi and private hire car (PHC) services are determined by market forces. For instance, in the case of PHCs, platforms dynamically adjust the prices of rides in accordance with demand, with higher charges during peak periods to attract more drivers to take on additional assignments. The Government does not set targets for the number of taxis or PHCs.
The business costs of driving a taxi or PHC mainly comprise: (i) vehicle rental; (ii) commissions paid to platform operators; and (iii) fuel costs. Typically, the bulk of the costs is rental, while fuel costs make up about 20% of total costs. Compared to the start of 2022, fuel expenditure has risen by 15% for a typical P2P driver who drives for a living. This translates to an increase of about three per cent in the overall cost of business.
To help offset the fuel expenditure increase incurred by the average P2P driver, P2P operators have made various moves to raise fares, such as increases to the base fare for PHCs and distance-time rate for taxis, which will be reviewed in end-May. Most taxi operators have also provided rental rebates to their drivers, while some PHC operators have offered commission rebates and/or other incentives.
The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with the National Taxi Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association to help drivers in this challenging period.
Ministry of Transport
4 April 2022