Taxi Drivers at Marina Bay Sands Continue Overcharging Tourists Despite Exposé
Remember the taxi driver who charged $100 for a 2.8km ride?
You’d think that exposing such practices would deter dishonest taxi drivers, but it seems not.
More taxi drivers have been caught demanding exorbitant fares from unsuspecting tourists at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) taxi stand.
What’s even more shocking is that it’s not just a few bad apples; it appears to be a widespread issue, making this unethical practice seem like a cultural norm among taxi drivers at MBS.
Typically, around 5 pm, as dinner approaches, the taxi stand sees a surge in people looking for cabs.
When it rains, even more people flock to the taxi stand to either flag down a taxi or wait for their reserved taxi or private hire car.
Some SUV taxi drivers take advantage of the situation by offering rides at inflated rates rather than using the metered fare system.
An undercover reporter from 8World News posed as a customer in urgent need of a ride during a peak hour on a Saturday evening.
The reporter needed to travel just 4km from MBS to Orchard Road, a trip that usually costs about $20 based on the metered fare and takes less than 20 minutes on the MRT.
However, the taxi driver charged the reporter a whopping $65, more than three times the standard fare.
These unscrupulous drivers often exploit passengers in a hurry, using tactics like pretending there’s heavy traffic or suggesting no other taxis will accept such passengers at lower fares.
Unfortunately, many tourists, unfamiliar with Singapore’s transportation system and its reputation for a high cost of living, fall for these scams.
In the reporter’s experiment, most taxi drivers quoted fares between $50 and $65, with some attempting to deceive the reporter by starting the trip before revealing the sky-high price.
Passengers are less likely to exit the vehicle after boarding, making it easier for the drivers to overcharge.
When the reporter revealed his identity as a reporter, one taxi driver immediately agreed to go by the metered fare. Others, however, simply told the reporter to leave the car if he didn’t like the price.
Tourists have also shared their experiences of being overcharged.
A tourist from India paid $65 for a 3.2km ride to Little India, while another from the US reluctantly paid $60 for a ride to Orchard Road, considering it a last resort compared to the much cheaper private-hire cars.
A Singapore resident of foreign nationality also shared with 8World News that drivers quoted higher prices when potential passengers appeared to be foreigners.
Touting Is Punishable
So, what can be done about this situation?
Can we rely on Singaporeans’ talent for complaining and reporting?
Yes, we can, because touting is punishable.
When caught touting, taxi drivers face a fine of $500, 12 demerit points, and a suspension of their vocational licence.
Repeat offenders may even have their licence revoked.
LTA (Land Transport Authority) takes this issue seriously and emphasises that private-hire car and taxi touting is illegal.
On top of that, LTA recommends that passengers make travel reservations through licensed operators and verify fares according to the fare list provided by the operator if in doubt.
MBS is cooperating closely with LTA to address the situation.
Passengers are advised to check if the taxi’s meter is activated and ensure that the final fare matches what’s displayed on the meter at the end of the trip.
Passengers encountering drivers unwilling to use the meter can report the matter to LTA.
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