Ride-hailing app Tada follows Gojek's move to charge temporary driver's fee
Local ride-hailing app Tada is matching the move by rival Gojek four days ago, saying on Wednesday (March 23) that it is also imposing a "temporary driver's fee" to help cushion higher fuel prices.
Passengers will from April 4 have to pay an extra 50 cents for shorter trips and 80 cents for longer ones until May 31, after which the fare hike will be reviewed if fuel prices fall.
All eyes will now turn to Grab, the largest ride-hailing company here, which has yet to announce any fare changes despite pressure from some of its drivers.
The Straits Times has asked Grab if similar plans are being considered. It said previously that it is monitoring the situation and will continue to find ways to support its drivers, such as fuel rebates.
Tada's statement on Wednesday said the driver's fee will be reflected separately from the ride fare in receipts so that the cost breakdown is transparent to passengers, and pledged that the entire increment will go to its drivers.
Trips with fares $18 and below will have an extra 50 cents driver's fee tagged on. Fares of $18.10 and above will draw an additional 80 cents.
For Gojek, its driver's fee is 50 cents for all trips under 10km and 80 cents for longer distances from March 31. It also raised starting fares for all GoCar trips by 50 cents, and by 80 cents for other trip types.
Mr Jonathan Chua, general manager of Tada, said it is also starting a fuel rebate campaign of $10 per day for drivers who complete 19 trips daily between April 4 and 17. "The temporary driver's fee will offer some respite from rising prices," he added.
"This, coupled with the rebates from the driver campaign, we hope will help drivers mitigate the additional costs."
He said Tada, like other companies, is trying to balance fares without diminishing drivers' livelihoods by putting off passengers. "We are carefully calibrating this with additional fuel rebates and rider incentives during this period."
Referring to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Tada cited rising pump prices that peaked on March 10, when the 95-octane grade hit a high of $3.23 per litre.
On Wednesday, it had fallen but was still above $3, 12 per cent higher than it was a month ago.
Last month, before Russia's invasion, all taxi companies announced fare hikes - the first in 10 years. ComfortDelGro, Trans-Cab, Prime Taxi, Strides Taxi and Premier Taxis all raised flag-down fares and metered rates, citing inflationary pressures and pump prices which had been rising since last year.
Global oil prices, even before the Ukraine crisis, have been boosted as demand, not matched by supply, recovers from the lows of the pandemic. Taxi and ride-hailing drivers said they have been paying twice the amount that they usually spent on fuel and were struggling to break even.
The number of taxi and ride-hailing trips remains at about 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.