Let’s face it. The costs of living in Singapore are expensive. In fact, many consider the costs of transportation as a large contributor to the high living expenses in Singapore. In this regard, taxi surcharges and fees in Singapore can be quite pricey, which may in turn result in sky-high taxi fares.
Therefore, if you’re a frequent taxi user, you can save a significant amount of money by doing one simple thing.
That is, to work on reducing the taxi surcharges and fees incurred for every taxi trip you take. While the cost savings for your taxi fare doesn’t seem like much for each trip, this adds up over time.
In this article, we analyse in detail three main components of a taxi fare, namely flag-down fees, the basic taxi rates and add-on taxi surcharges.
With this information, you can then devise strategies and plan your routes to avoid unnecessary taxi surcharges and fees in Singapore.
1. Flag-Down Taxi Surcharges in Singapore
One of the key ways to reduce your taxi fares is by avoiding high taxi flag-down taxi surcharges in Singapore (also known as flag down rates).
Flag-down rates are not standardised across the taxi industry. The rates differ according to the type of cab company and model of taxi that you hire.
Generally, standard taxis have a higher flag-down rate whereas premium taxis fetch higher flag-down fees. The flag-down fare of standard taxis can range from S$3.20 to S3.90. This gets much higher when we look at premium taxis. For premium taxis, we’re looking at an average flag-down fare of S$3.90 to S$5.00.
For example, let’s take the case of ComfortDelGro Taxis. A Hyundai Sonata Comfort Taxi incurs a flag-down fee of S$3.20. Further, the flag-down fee for a mid-range Hyundai i-40 Comfort Taxi is S$3.70. On the other hand, their top of the range limousine cab has a flag-down fee of S$3.90.
Here’s a table showing the flag-down taxi fares from the different taxi companies.
Taxi Company Type of Taxi Taxi Flag-Down Rate (inclusive of 1st km or less)
ComfortDelGro Comfort Taxi S$3.20 to S$3.90
CItyCab Taxi S$3.20 to S$3.90
TransCab Services Trans-Cab S$3.60 to S$3.90
Premier Taxis Premier Taxi S$3.60 to S$3.90
Prime Car Rental & Taxi Services Prime Taxi S$3.60 to S$3.80
HDT Singapore Taxi HDT Electric Taxis S$3.90
SMRT SMRT Taxi S$3.90
Privately owned Yellow-Top Taxi S$3.00 to S$3.70
As can be seen from the above, privately-owned yellow-top taxis potentially offer the lowest flag-down rates. However, the number of such cabs are extremely low. In fact, as of 2017, there are only 100 yellow-top taxis left in Singapore.
Thus, if you wish to reduce the flag-down rates for your taxi fares in Singapore, your best bet would be to opt for the standard Comfort and CityCab taxis from ComfortDelGro. Further, given that ComfortDelGro holds a big majority of the taxi market share in Singapore, it be quite easy to find their taxis for your trips.
2. Basic Taxi Fees in Singapore
Your basic taxi fare is determined by the amount of distance travelled as well as any waiting time fees.
For your distance-based fare, there aren’t many differences between the various taxi companies. This is because the Public Transport Council of Singapore has required that taxi companies standardise unit charges.
However, you may be asking “When do I have to pay waiting time fees?”
In any typical taxi ride, you are likely to incur waiting time fees. After all, even your taxi waiting in traffic at a stoplight will subject you to waiting time fees. Additionally, you would be charged if you get the taxi driver to wait for you while you run an errand. In such a case, you would also have to fork out fees at the prevailing waiting time rates.
To make it easier for you, we have compiled the range of basic taxi fares in Singapore into the following table. This has been broken down into the distance and waiting time rate components.
Type of Taxi Distance Rate (After 1st km) Waiting Time Rate
Standard Taxi 22 to 25 cents 22 to 25 cents for every 45 seconds
Premium Taxi 30 to 33 cents 30 to 33 cents for every 45 seconds
It is noteworthy that the distance rates are only calculated beyond the first km. This is because the first km is already covered by the flag-down rates.
3. Peak Period Taxi Surcharge in Singapore
You should avoid the peak periods for taxis in Singapore to reduce your taxi fare. During these peak periods, there is a peak hour surcharge amounting to 25% of the metered fare.
The idea behind peak periods is to adjust the prices of the taxi rides to match rider demand with driver supply. Raising the taxi fares during peak periods will ensure that there are sufficient cabs around for riders during these times.
In this regard, there are two main peak periods.
The first is from Mondays to Fridays (excluding Public Holidays) from 6 am to 9.29 am. The other peak period is in the evening on any day (including Public Holidays) from 6 pm to 11.59 pm.
Therefore, if you take a taxi to travel to and from work, you would likely incur this peak period taxi surcharge in Singapore.
4. Midnight Taxi Surcharge in Singapore
The midnight surcharge in Singapore is charged anytime from 12 am-midnight to 5.59 am. This adds an extra 50% of your metered fare. Furthermore, just like with the peak period surcharge, the midnight surcharge applies at the time of boarding the taxi.
Take for instance, if your metered fare amounts to S$20 and you board the cab after midnight. You would then have to pay an additional S$10 for your taxi fare.
This is clearly a substantial portion of your cab fare. Thus, if you wish to save some money, you can try to avoid going out too late at night. Alternatively, you can always hitch a car ride from one of acquaintances who may be out with you.
5. Location Taxi Surcharge in Singapore
There are various places that attract location-based taxi surcharges in Singapore.
City Area Taxi Surcharge
The City Area taxi surcharge in Singapore is a taxi fee you should try to avoid. Implemented to ease the congestion in the Central Business District (CBD) area, this surcharge adds S$3.00 to your total taxi bill.
So when does this surcharge apply?
This surcharge is payable from 5 pm to 11.59 pm if your trip starts from within the CBD area.
Therefore, should you wish to avoid the City Area Surcharge, you should avoid hailing cabs from within the CBD Boundary as set out by the LTA. If it’s convenient, you could even take public transport or walk out of the CBD area before taking a taxi.
Other Location-Based Taxi Surcharges in Singapore
Other than the City Area surcharge, taxi surcharges apply to other locations as well. These locations include Changi Airport, Seletar Airport, Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa and so on.
For your reference, we have set out a list of the key location-based taxi surcharges in Singapore so that you aren’t caught unawares when you receive your taxi bill.
Location Timing Surcharge Amount
City Area Any Day (5 pm to 11.59 pm) S$3.00
Marina Bay Sands Sunday or Public Holiday (6 am to 4.59 pm) S$3.00
Changi Airport Friday to Sunday (5 pm to 11.59 pm) S$5.00
Any Other Time S$3.00
Seletar Aiport Any Day at Any Time S$3.00
Resorts World Sentosa Any Day at Any Time S$3.00
Singapore Expo Centre Any Day at Any Time S$2.00
Gardens by the Bay Any Day at Any Time S$3.00
Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Any Day at Any Time S$3.00
Marina Bay Cruise Centre Any Day (7 am to 10.59 am) S$5.00
Any Other Time S$3.00
6. Taxi Booking Fees
Booking a taxi carries with it some booking fees. The booking fees vary according to whether your booking is made during peak or off-peak periods.
For peak periods, the booking fees for the taxis range from S$3.30 to S$4.50. Conversely, the booking fees are from S$2.30 to S$2.50 for off-peak periods.
Furthermore, if you make your booking in advance by more than 30 minutes, you will incur a much higher booking fee. Should you choose to make an advance booking, your booking fee shoots up to a span of S$6.50 to S$8.00.
Hence, it is clear that taxi booking fees in Singapore can be significant. Even more so if you are booking a taxi in advance.
Nonetheless, if you have a very important appointment such as a plane to catch, you may be better off paying for the advanced booking fee. This is to ensure that you actually have a taxi waiting for you at the critical time.
If not, should there be a lack of taxis around (for example, when it rains), then you may not be able to make it in time for your appointment.
7. Extra Passenger Taxi Surcharge in Singapore
What is the extra passenger taxi surcharge?
Simply put, it is a S$3.00 taxi surcharge is imposed when there are more than four passengers. This surcharge is payable for every additional person after the fourth passenger.
The surcharge applies to bigger vehicles such as limousine taxis which can accommodate a relatively bigger number of passengers. One such example is ComfortDelGro’s MaxiCab, which can seat up to seven people.
It’s not clear why there is a need for an extra surcharge simply because another passenger is added. After all, in a normal four-seater, you are hiring the entire taxi for the duration of your travel. It should not matter if you are traveling alone or with your friends.
However, experts believe that the extra surcharge could be a way for taxi companies to help cab drivers earn more revenue and cover their operating costs.
In any case, it may still be worthwhile for you to pay this extra passenger surcharge instead of hiring another taxi altogether. If all of you end up having to take two taxis, the eventual taxi fares paid will definitely be much higher than if you were to bear the extra passenger surcharge.
8. ERP Taxi Charges
You will incur ERP charges if you pass by ERP gantries during operational hours during your taxi ride. The prevailing ERP charges will be automatically added to the total taxi fare at the end of your ride.
Please do prior research of the different ERP rates and gantries so you can decide on your route and timing. One way of doing this is using the free tool provided by MyTranport.SG. By doing this, you can let the driver know your preferred route in order to avoid ERP fees. In fact, you can stand to save up to S$3 by avoiding certain routes with ERP charges.
Having done your research, you can prevent potential misunderstandings with your taxi driver as well. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up like the passenger who accused the driver of kidnapping her over a dispute regarding ERP charges.
9. E-Payment Taxi Surcharge in Singapore
Now with digital payment options available, you may be thinking of using e-payments for your taxi fare. However, is that the most cost-effective option?
This is because for credit card payments on your taxi fare, a 10 per cent administrative fee is payable. In addition, the goods and services tax is applicable on that administrative fee. Depending on your final bill, this e-payment surcharge can be quite significant.
If you’re thinking of using NETS or EZ-link options to make payment, you’re not completely spared. There is a S$0.30 administrative charge in addition to your metered fare.
Therefore, you can consider using cash as a way to pay for your taxi fares. Doing this may help save some money from not having to pay the e-payment taxi surcharge in Singapore.
Taxi Surcharges in Singapore can be very costly, depending on when and where you board the cab.
What’s surprising is that Singaporeans often fail to consider the key taxi surcharges in Singapore. They then get a rude shock and complain when they are presented with a hefty taxi bill at the end of their ride.
Well, you can avoid ending up like that.
To avoid expensive taxi surcharges and additional fees in Singapore, you should be mindful of the key surcharges imposed and try to avoid them as much as you can. Applying the recommendations in this article, we hope that you will find that your taxi rides become much cheaper in the future.
Alternatively, you could always opt for public transport such as using the MRT. After all, public transportation in Singapore is a relatively fast and efficient way of getting to your destination. In this regard, here are some key ways to reduce MRT fares in Singapore.