Surge pricing: Taxis should also offer competitive fares

Surge pricing: Taxis should also offer competitive fares

I refer to the reports “Dynamic-pricing option for taxi operators approved” and “Cabbies may ignore street commuters during peak hours: Experts” (March 18).

Consumers have been choosing private-hire services over taxis partly because of better prices and service.

Being allowed to implement dynamic pricing — or surge pricing — should help the taxi operators compete since drivers would be more inclined to pick up commuters during peak hours, when demand is higher.

But to distinguish themselves from services such as Uber and Grab, taxi operators also need to ensure competitive rates for dynamic pricing, as well as to improve their service.

This involves offering promotional incentives so consumers would choose taxis over private-hire car services. Competitive pricing, rather than surge pricing, would help more taxi drivers enjoy better earnings and maintain the efficiency of taxi services.

Taxi companies also need to look into the relevance of surcharges as commuters would rather take a private-hire car service at a fixed price than spend additional money on a taxi service to get to the same destination.

Improving service also means taxi booking mobile apps must be reliable in striking a balance between catering to street hires and bookings.

Amid competition from Uber and Grab, taxi companies must do more to make commuters consider taking cabs over private-hire cars, so as to see to the needs of their drivers.