Your handy guide to catching taxis in Singapore

By Winston Khong, October 18 2016
Your handy guide to catching taxis in Singapore

Taxis are arguably the easiest way to get around Singapore. They're clean, comfortable, air-conditioned and incredibly affordable.

But they can also be a little confusing, as the city has three different grades of cabs – each with different flagfall rates and per-kilometre fees.

Here’s what you need to know before your next business trip to Singapore.

Standard taxis

These are by far the most common taxis you’ll see on the streets of Singapore and are easily distinguished by the mid-range Toyota, Hyundai or Kia models used and the colour of each cab company.

These operators are Comfort (blue), Citycab (yellow), SMRT (maroon), Transcab (red), Silvercab (silver), Prime (pink) and Yellowtop (black with yellow roof).

The typical flagfall is S$3 to S$3.50 and includes the first kilometre of your journey; after that, the meter ticks over at 22c per 400 metres.

Premium taxis, maxicabs and MPVs

These are larger ‘people-mover’ minivans and imported London cabs (which in Singapore are white instead of black) with seating for as many as seven passengers.

The initial flagfall and first kilometre is S$3.90, with 22c per 400m after that. You’ll also be charged an additional $2 per head if there are more than four adult passengers.

Limousine taxis

Singapore’s limousine taxi fleets – which comprise mainly of white or ‘champagne gold’ Mercedes-Benz and black Chrysler 300C sedans – range from S$3.90 to S$5 in flagfall (which also covers the first kilometre) and 22c to 33c per 400m thereafter.

These cars can also be booked for chauffeur-driven rides and airport/hotel transfers.

Three top tips for catching a taxi in Singapore

Within the CBD, use a taxi stand: unlike Australia (and many other countries), drivers aren’t allowed to stop anywhere along the road for a passenger who hails them down – in fact, they face severe fines for doing so.

By law, passengers can only get into or out of a cab within the greater city centre area at signposted taxi stands.

Can’t see a taxi stand? Make a beeline for the nearest hotel or shopping mall.

Where possible, pay cash: Singapore taxis don’t accept Visa cards (Visa withdrew the service due to a long-running dispute over payment of card transaction fees).

Other cards are accepted but attract a 10% surcharge, and most drivers prefer cash due to delays of several weeks in reimbursement for card receipts. Drivers will happily print out an invoice even if you pay cash.

Be aware of surcharges: and there are plenty of them! This includes an extra S$3 charge for catching a taxi after 5pm in the CBD; S$3 for pickups from Gardens by the Bay and Resort World Sentosa; S$3 for Marina Bay Sands pickups on Sundays and public holidays from 6am to 4.59pm; and S$3-5 for pickups at Changi Airport.

You also need to be prepared for the flat 25% ‘peak hour surcharge’ between 6am and 9.30am weekdays and 6pm to midnight every evening, and a whopping 50% loading on hires between midnight and 6am.

Winston Khong

Winston is a Sydney-based HR advisor in the hospitality and public transport industries, but his family ties to Singapore provide a convenient excuse to regularly return and feast on pork belly satay, popiah and his mother's chicken curry.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Plantium

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 120

Great article.  I travel to Singapore every few weeks and love their taxi system.  Also to note regarding extra chargers is the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) which is for certain roads at certain times of the day.  If looking for a taxi booking app, I use 'Grab' which is a great app and also allows you to pay via credit card

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Dec 2013

Total posts 12

Hell Go every 6 Mths! MRT Man! Can u imagine their MRT system in OZ!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2013

Total posts 33

Yep. MRT all the way. 
guy
guy

05 Mar 2012

Total posts 26

Of course the ride sharing services are here too - Uber and Grab.  Uber's flat rate pricing works well here as it is all inclusive (including ERP tolls).  Whereas taxis, while cheap, have a wide range of surcharges which are difficult to understand.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

If travelling for business avoid the Red coloured taxies as they do not accept credit cards of any type. 

29 Apr 2016

Total posts 2

comfort cabs (the blue one) accepts visa

31 Dec 2014

Total posts 9

The current list of surcharges from SIN airport site:

$5 Airport surcharge: 5.00pm - midnight (Fri - Sun)
$3 Airport surcharge: All other times
Midnight surcharge of 50% of final metered fare: midnight - 6.00am
Peak hours surcharge of 25% of final metered fare: 6.00am - 9.30am (Mon - Fri) and 6.00pm - midnight (Mon - Sun)


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