Cab operator Strides Premier launches spruced-up fleet, some taxis offer free Wi-Fi, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Cab operator Strides Premier launches spruced-up fleet, some taxis offer free Wi-Fi

The Republic’s newly merged and second-largest cab operator, Strides Premier, has launched its spruced-up fleet of taxis comprising six models, with around 90 per cent of them being hybrid or electric-powered.

Among its 2,300 cabs plying the roads now, a portion of them bear the new Strides Premier logo, after SMRT-owned Strides merged with Premier Taxis in May. The rest of the taxis will be progressively repainted with the symbol.

Most of its car models were carried over from the previous companies, such as Strides’ bright green electric car. A few months after the merger, the company added the hybrid Toyota Corolla to its mix – in both sedan and touring models. Thirty-five of those new grey taxis are plying the roads now.

This is part of Strides Premier’s move to replace and progressively phase out its remaining diesel cars so that its fleet will be greener and minimally hybrid, said its chief executive Ang Wei Neng.

These were some of the updates announced on Dec 9 at Strides Premier’s first event since the merger, which showcased what customers and taxi drivers can expect from the new operator.

Other initiatives announced at the firm’s headquarters in Changi South were welfare benefits for drivers and free Wi-Fi on some taxis.

Strides Premier’s updates come a couple of days after market leader ComfortDelGro announced that it will raise fares from Dec 13 due to rising fuel prices, high inflation and the upcoming goods and services tax hike to 9 per cent in 2024.

The leading taxi operator will raise flag-down fares by 50 cents for its regular taxis, among other hikes.

Prime Taxi also plans to raise its fares, but it did not disclose details.

When asked if Strides Premier will follow suit, Mr Ang maintained that it has not made a decision.

“As for flag-down rates and (meter fares), we are looking at the situation very closely and will see what is the feedback from passengers and hirers,” added Mr Ang, who is also an MP for West Coast GRC.

But like other taxi operators, Strides Premier will extend its evening peak-hour surcharge period by an hour effective Dec 13, from 5pm to 11.59pm. Now, the surcharge period starts from 6pm. 

A peak-hour surcharge will also be introduced from 10am to 1.59pm on weekends.

Mr Ang added that the rental rates for Strides Premier’s taxis are not the highest, and the daily rate for its newer cars can be under $100 before goods and services tax.

In time, the company is planning to have close to 200 Toyota Corolla hybrids on the road, up from 35 now. Its new taxis will be grey-coloured, comprising models such as Toyota Corolla and Kia Niro Plus.

Under a six-month pilot, about 50 of Strides Premier’s taxis will have free Wi-Fi for passengers. The operator will assess usage before expanding the free service.

Free Wi-Fi access will be available for Strides Premier passengers on selected taxis as part of a pilot. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

To improve the financial welfare of its 4,000 or so taxi drivers, the company is providing more than 30 per cent in discounts for fuel, and is in talks with companies that are looking for transport services for their employees. Ferrying workers can supplement taxi drivers’ incomes.


Strides Premier has provided over $200,000 worth of education support and bursaries for the children of lower-income drivers. Such financial assistance is also provided by other taxi companies here.

For Mr Foo Chi Yong, 63, a taxi driver with Premier Taxis since 2004, the transition caused by the merger has been seamless and positive.

He said the company provided fuel rebates for the first four months after the merger, and getting cars serviced is now faster.

“Once the car is down, the driver’s income (for the day) is affected. We used to have to wait three to four hours to get our cars serviced and repaired. Now, the maximum is 1½ hours.”

Associate Professor Walter Theseira, head of the urban transportation programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, noted that the renewal of taxi fleets is a routine market expectation in Singapore.

The taxi market has been trying to figure out its optimal size, he observed.

“The market was severely depressed during the last decade due to the aggressive entry of ride-hailing platforms willing to lose money to gain market share.

“But now that those aggressive discounts and incentives are over, the taxi market is trying to discover the right equilibrium,” he said.