OWL Magazine Korea

Singapore, Transportation: Taxis

Commonly seen worldwide, public transportation includes options like buses, subways, and taxis. These three modes of transportation are also prevalent in South Korea.

In Singapore, taxis operate with a system somewhat different from those in South Korea.

“Flagging Taxis Anywhere is Not Possible in Singapore”

While in South Korea, you can hail a taxi almost anywhere, in Singapore, this isn’t the case. In the central areas of Singapore, you can only flag down a taxi at specific taxi stands. However, once you’re in a taxi, unless it’s a designated no-drop-off zone, you can alight almost anywhere. In residential areas, you might even be able to flag down a taxi by the roadside.

“Finding Taxi Stands in Downtown Areas”

In downtown areas, you can’t flag down a taxi even if you try standing by the roadside. In such cases, signs typically guide you to the location for “Taxi Stands.” Sometimes, you might see signs that say “Q For Taxi,” using the British English term “Queue” instead of “Line,” which is more commonly used in Singapore.

Arriving at a taxi stand labeled “Queue For Taxi,” you’ll notice people lining up to take taxis.

“General Information about Taxis in Singapore”

Taxis in Singapore are more intricate compared to those in South Korea. There are various surcharges, and boarding a taxi without understanding these details might lead to unintended misunderstandings.

“General Information about Taxis in Singapore”

  • All taxis in Singapore use meters.
  • Additional charges apply based on the location and time of boarding and alighting.
  • Booking a taxi (call booking) incurs a reservation fee.
  • Payment can be made in cash, credit cards, NETS, EZ-Link, etc.
  • It’s advisable to confirm payment methods and change availability when boarding.
  • Receipts can be obtained upon alighting.

As seen above, the second point mentions that “additional charges apply based on the location and time of boarding and alighting.” Let’s briefly explore what these additional charges entail. Additionally, crossing the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) zones incurs extra charges.

“Additional Charges (Surcharges)”

  1. Time-Based Surcharge
    1. (Mon-Fri): 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (excluding public holidays) / (Mon-Sun, public holidays): 6:00 PM – 12:00 PM: 25% surcharge on the metered fare
    2. Daily: 12:00 AM – 5:59 AM: 50% surcharge on the metered fare
  2. CBD (Central Business District) Area Surcharge
    1. Daily: 5:00 PM – 12:00 PM: 30% surcharge on the metered fare
  3. Call Booking Fee
    1. Mon-Fri: 6:00 AM – 9:30 AM: 33% surcharge on the metered fare
    2. Daily: 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM: 33% surcharge on the metered fare

“Different Taxi Companies Operate Different Colored Taxis”

Taxis in Singapore come in various colors, with each color representing a different taxi company. Matching colors with taxi company names:

  1. COMFORT: Blue
  2. CITYCAB: Yellow
  3. SMRT: Dark Brown
  4. TRANS-CAB: Red
  5. SILVERCAB: Silver
  6. PRIME TAXI: Copper
  7. HDT TAXI: Green

Additionally, there are “Premium Taxis,” and the companies offering these premium services are:

“Premium Taxi Companies”

  1. LIMOCAB: Premium taxi service of CITYCAB
  2. SOVEREIGN LIMOUSINES: Premium taxi service of YELLOW-TOP CAB
  3. SPACE / LONDON TAXI: Premium taxi service of SMRT

“Basic Fare for Taxis”

The basic fare for taxis varies by company, adding another layer of complexity. During “Peak Hours,” a higher basic fare is charged, while during other times, a more economical fare structure is applied. Below is a table summarizing taxi company contact numbers and reservation fees.

Note that Peak Hours refer to the following time frames:

  • Peak Hours: (Mon-Fri): 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (excluding public holidays) / (Mon-Sun, public holidays): 6:00 PM – 12:00 PM: 25% surcharge on the metered fare

“Places Where Taxis Cannot Stop for Alighting”

While you can hail a taxi at designated stands in central areas, for alighting, unless it’s a special zone, you can disembark almost anywhere. Special zones include:

  1. Areas with bus lines or bus stops
  2. Lanes with double zigzag lines
  3. Roads in the Central Business District (CBD) with bus routes

This concludes an overview of “Taxis,” one of Singapore’s public transportation options. The taxi system in Singapore might feel more complex than what we are accustomed to, adding an extra layer of intricacy to navigating Singapore’s transportation. I hope this information proves useful for those planning to travel to Singapore.