The number of degree holders have consistently been going up. So too has the number of PMEs. Therefore it is no surprise to see a growing number of PMEs taking up jobs as taxi drivers.
Now unlike taxi drivers of the past, PME taxi drivers are equipped with organisational, analytical and entrepreneurial skills. They understand the value of productivity and thus know it is smarter to drive less miles, and make more money. But does the taxi companies encourage this?
Answer is no.
All the taxi companies frown upon drivers taking up corporate bookings or finding clients who will hire them for a long term. LTA does not make it any easier, especially with the new policy of 250km required travel distance.
“Yes, if you travel 400-500km a day you can make some good money. But everyone knows that long distance driving can result in fatigue. And fatigue is a very dangerous thing”, said Mr. Tan (not his real name), a Mercedes driver of 4 years.
Many of them say that the money is not worth it if they develop long term illness, or if they get into an accident.
All sectors of Singapore is facing a labour crunch, and the taxi industry is no different. But ask if our taxis are being used efficiently and productively, I think the answer is no.
Because of the way our policies are designed, cabbies would hover around areas where there is opportunity to collect more revenue… for example hotels and airports.
By forcing them onto the roads and plying a compulsory 250km a day, may put more taxis on the road but it is a bitter…and very unpopular pill to swallow. Not to mention a very environmentally unfriendly way to do so.
Rather, the companies should encourage more entrepreunalism and allow individuals to do partnerships with companies to pool resources together and let the cabbies earn their keep this way.
Technology could also be used in the matching of passenger to driver. Geo-positioning can now easily reveal where buyer and seller are… and even provide a bidding system of sorts in the case of heavy use.
However, all these fancy means of improving technology would be useless if there isn’t an economical benefit to the drivers. There must be motivation to get them to adopt.
Taxi companies can still earn revenue from many, many ways – encroaching on the driver’s revenue shouldn’t be one of them.
Let the drivers earn their keep, feed their business acumen: and watch productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction improve!
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