SINGAPORE: From next Monday (Apr 4), ComfortDelGro will temporarily increase fares for all its taxis to cushion the impact of the recent increase in fuel prices.
The fuel-related price increase is being introduced following "strong feedback" from its drivers, the taxi giant said in a media release on Monday.
The move will be reviewed by the end of May and removed if fuel prices ease, it added.
ComfortDelGro will increase distance and waiting time fares by 1 cent.
This means the distance-timed rates - which are currently 24 cents for regular taxis and 33 cents for limousine cabs - will go up to 25 cents and 34 cents respectively.
The distance-timed rates are calculated based on every 400m thereafter or less up to 10km, every 350m thereafter or less after 10km, and every 45 seconds of waiting or less.
The proposed revision will see fares increase by about 32 cents for a 10km trip, ComfortDelGro said.
Flagdown fares will remain unchanged.
"Assuming an average of 10 to 12 trips a day, cabbies’ earnings are expected to improve by between S$3.20 and S$3.84 daily," it added.
"This will help to cushion the impact of the recent surge in fuel prices, which has increased their daily fuel costs by between S$3.55 and S$13.50 in the last month alone."
The move comes after ComfortDelGro increased its fares for the first time in a decade on Mar 1, which saw flagdown fares go up by 20 cents as well as a 2-cent increase in distance and waiting time fares.
The fare increase prompted other taxi operators to follow suit.
ComfortDelGro has also extended a one-time rental rebate of S$90 to its hirers, the company said, noting this is on top of ongoing rental waivers in place since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
ComfortDelGro Taxi CEO Jackson Chia said the decision to introduce the temporary fare hike was taken after "very careful consideration".
Pointing to the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on global fuel prices, Mr Chia noted petrol prices had surged by 21 per cent in the last month.
"And even though we have been absorbing a large part of the increase in fuel costs so that our drivers can enjoy a lower rate of S$2.20 per litre of petrol, compared to the S$3.05 per litre if they had pumped outside, they are still paying close to 14 per cent more than what they were paying in February," he said.
Drivers were still finding it difficult to make ends meet despite the rental rebates, he noted.
"We hope commuters will understand that this move is a measure of last resort and will be removed once fuel prices return to reasonable levels,” he said.
ComfortDelGro noted this was the second time it had implemented a temporary fuel-linked fare hike, having introduced a 30-cent fuel surcharge between July and November 2008 due to "persistent and sustained increases in fuel costs".
Private-hire operators Gojek, Grab and TADA have also introduced temporary fees to help drivers defray costs due to rising fuel prices.
As of December last year, ComfortDelgro operates more than 8,900 taxis under the Comfort and CityCab brands, making up about 60 per cent of Singapore's taxi population.
In response to queries to CNA, SMRT's taxi business said it is monitoring drivers' income.
"We are closely monitoring our taxi partners' income to assess how we can best assist them," said Mr Yeow How Pheng, head of Strides Mobility Services.