Taxi vs Private Hire (Grab) Driver – Which is better to earn

In the past, your friends will always ‘jio’ you to go take-up the taxi driver licence course when you reach the eligible age of 30.

Having a taxi-licence is a safety net that can ensure your family still got money to eat if you got retrenched.

These days, fewer people still ‘jio’ you to drive taxi, they refer you to become a private-hire driver instead, driving for Singapore’s favourite Grab. so Who is better?

Eligibility – Who Can Drive


From 20 years old
Singaporean, PR, Work Permits
Hold a valid class 3/3A/3C/3CA Singapore driving licence for at least a continuous period of two years at the point of application
Possess Private car Driver Vocational Licence (PDVL). Allowed to provide only private-hire service

Find out more about how much does commercial motor car insurance Cost


30 years old
Singaporean holding pink NRIC
Minimum continuous 1 year valid driving licence
Possess Taxi Driver Vocational Licence. Able to drive both Taxi and Private-hIre

Operating Cost


Own car with Z10 classification – Commercial Insurance, Road Tax, Maintenance, Petrol, Depreciation, Private-hire decal

Rental car with Z10 classification – Rental cost average between $40-$80 per day
Petrol cost $50-$80


Rent from one of 6 taxi companies
Daily rental cost average from $75-$105
Diesel cost $30-$50 a day

Income Tax


Rental, petrol, maintenance, repairs, insurance and road tax are not allowed to be expensed

See How to file income tax as a Uber/Grab Driver and Private hire drivers pay More tax than Taxi


Rental, Diesel, Parking, Vocational Licence are allowed to be expensed

Pick-up and Drop off


Strictly prohibited to pick-up and drop-off at Taxi-stands. Taxi company ask taxi drivers to sabo private-hire who pick-up/drop off at taxi stand

Not allowed to drop-off riders at some places such as Changi Airport Cargo Complex


Allowed to wait at taxi-stands
Allowed to pick-up and drop off riders at taxi stands

Child-Seat Rule


Required by the Road Traffic Act to provide child seat for children below the height of 1.35m

Child friendly booking service Uber Car Seat and GrabFamily to cater to rider with children


Classified as public service vehicles and exempted from the child seat rule

Not required to provide child seat



Private-Hire Drivers are assigned jobs primarily from Grab. More players such as Ryde, blockchain MVL, Go-Jek from Indonesia and Jugnoo from India are entering the market in 2018 after Uber announced their exit from Singapore.

Private-hire cars are not allowed to ply the road for street hail


Traditional taxis are able to accept job bookings and pick-up riders from street-hails.

Booking services include

Uber – UberTaxi
Grab – JustGrab, GrabTaxi
Internal company booking system

Booking services include

Taxis are part of the JustGrab‘s family of vehicles and can receive JustGrab jobs through the Grab booking app. Taxi drivers are also allowed to pick up riders on the street.

Earning Include

Entitled to weekly incentives from Uber and Grab

Location surcharge such as from Changi Airport, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, CBD, Sentosa

Peak hour surcharge up to 50%

Entitled to JustGrab’s dynamic pricing where prices are increased during period of high demand

Driving a taxi seems to be a better option than driving as a private-hire driver.

Taxi-drivers have multiple surcharges, allowed to pick-up/drop off riders at taxi stands, can declare car costs as expenses and do not have to worry about having a child seat

BUT, Why are there more people flocking to drive private-hire than a taxi?

  • More jobs for private-hire than taxi
    More riders are choosing private-hire booking services than taxis
  • Private-hire’s flexibility 
    There is no requirement to clock minimum hours or trips on a daily basis
  • Social perception
    Being a private-hire driver is more fashionable than being a taxi driver. Many private-hire drivers lead a double life, some are bankers by day and driver by night.
    It would not have been possible if they were driving a taxi. Many of these part-time drivers would not want to be seen driving a smurf-blue taxi at their office car park.
  • Lower barrier to entry
    Private-hire has a very low barrier to entry and is open to permanent residents and also work permit holders whereas Taxi is reserved exclusively for Singaporeans who are aged at least 30 years and above

What do you think? Does a taxi-driver earn more or private-hire is better?

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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