In Singapore there is a saying; when the going get tough, the tough go and drive taxis.
Conventional wisdom has it that every time Singapore goes through an economic downturn, the retrenched workers will drive taxis to tide them over the tough period. However, conventional wisdom needs a rethink as latest figures from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) seem to indicate that things might be different this time around.
Latest figures from the LTA show that the taxi business is in problem. 898,975 taxi trips were recorded in November 2008, which are about 50,000 less than in November 2007 when there were 941,709 trips. Reports also say that business for taxi-drivers dropped by about 20 per cent since October last year and that taxi-drivers do not believe that the upcoming Lunar New Year season will change anything for them either. All this even when there is a shortage of taxi-drivers in Singapore.
Now I know most Singaporeans care little for taxi-drivers in Singapore but taxi-drivers are an extremely important part of the transport system. Without taxis, we only have the MRT and buses for our transport needs, and the list of complains from pampered Singaporeans on crowded MRT trains and bus waiting times is even longer than the list of complaints about taxi-drivers.
So for all those people thinking of making taxi complains, I hope you are willing to take the bus more often because taxi driving is no longer as attractive as it used to be and if more taxi-drivers leave the business; it’ll be worse for everyone.