Same Same But Different – Taxis

Pirate Taxis, should they be shut down or lauded for their entrepreneurial instincts?

You know that phrase when you go Thailand, and you hear it and see it smacked all over tourist shirts “Same Same but Different”. Well Pirate Taxis here in Singapore, offer the same services, but different prices and come with a whole set of different risks.

Cars aren’t cheap in Singapore, they’re a luxury item that can cost a bulk of your monthly income. To add on, petrol doesn’t come cheap either and with cost perpetually rising, some drivers are feeling the pinch. And as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, or an idle mind is the devils workshop. Which applies here its for you to decide.


Pirate taxis are basically privately owned cars by individuals that do not have the authority to charge a fare to ferry passengers. They’re advertised online through forums and are basically illegal. Drivers who are caught could face harsh punishment, such as facing jail time of up to six months, a fine of up to $3000 and even having their vehicle forfeited. Becoming a cab driver isn’t as simple as going out getting a car, and immediately start charging for your services. There are benchmarks and licenses to obtain that will ensure safety and service.


The adviser to the National Taxi Association has also said that safety concerns such as insurance coverage for passengers in a case of accidents. Which questions what happens if you’re ferrying a group of friends and “suay suay” you get into an accident? Do the same rules of insurance apply then, or is it only because they were not paying passengers?


There are split views among various camps with some such as Mr Ang of Ang Mo Kio GRC who is all for the legitimisation of such private taxis. It doesn’t seem like a big ask and it’s also a way for Singaporeans to earn additional income, especially those who rely on a car but are unable to meet the monthly installments. What do you think of such personal enterprises?


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