Challenges of being a Private-Hire Driver in Singapore


Driving for a living as a private-hire driver is tiring. Drivers spent hours seated in the car to navigate through bad traffic in unpredictable weather conditions. It takes a lot of concentration and puts a lot of pressure on the body. The common ailment for drivers who drive for long hours are backaches, shoulder ache and stiff necks.

It is important to drive a right car suited for you. Try cramping a tall 90kg fella into a Suzuki Swift and see how he turns out after a full day of driving. See the Top 10 Most Popular Uber/Grab Car that drivers use in Singapore.

Hidden Danger Costs

Driving in Singapore can be very costly if you do not play by the rules. There are many summons for drivers to choose from.

Here are the most common fines that private-hire incur. Designated bus lane/ bus lane hours, ferrying a child without a child seat, picking/dropping riders at bus-stop, carrying too many riders, riders did not put on the seat belt, pick-up at taxi stand, speeding, an insufficient cashcard amount for ERP payments.

Drivers’ biggest fear is the cost of an accident. When drivers get into an accident, they can be expected to pay between $2000-$5000 in excess costs for repairs. A hefty amount that can wipe out months of earnings.

Lone Ranger

The job of a private-hire driver can get boring. You drag yourself out of bed every-day and prepare yourself for a day similar to yesterday. You are likely to go to the same places, drive on the same highway and earn the same amount of money.

There are no colleagues travelling with you on your car and the only shot is you have for interaction is with the rider. That is why when Drivers gather for lunch break, they bitch non-stop about their driving as it is their only chance to speak up.

Lower Earnings

Driving for private-hire is not as lucrative as before. With lower fares, lower incentives and an increasing competition created by Grab through their aggressive driver recruitment initiatives, it is tougher to earn the same amount of money like before. Grab has just introduced a new Never Seen Before campaign for Comfort Taxi Drivers which is targeted to recruit even more taxi drivers to join its private-hire driver strength. Fresh from the oven, Grab has just imposed a minimum weekly acceptance rating that will kick in on November 13, 2017.

Keeping the competition between Uber and Grab alive is the only way from letting earnings go further downhill. Grab has announced its plans to build the biggest fleet in the region, an attempt to further strengthen it’s number 1 position in the region.

No Future Prospects

Let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no future in driving private-hire as a career. Many young and educated people have jumped on the ride-sharing bandwagon when they see their peers in a new car, flexible hours, no boss to report to and earning good money.

Driving for private-hire was never meant to be a career. It was meant as an additional income tool and opportunity to own a car by driving for a few hours a day. It is also a useful tool for people who are in between jobs.

There is no career progression, medical benefits (unless you are hired as a full-time Uber fleet partner) and are subjected to pay higher taxes compared to taxi drivers competitors. For all the reasons not to drive full-time, many people are still doing it. See why are drivers still driving for Uber/Grab.

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Commander-in-Chief @ Firstlane Swam to Sunny island to escape from the half-brother who ruled with an iron-fist and feed the family with needles or to dogs. Kim is my family name and Jio is my favorite fruit. Screwing around with Uber & Grab since 2014