Latest – HDT Taxi to shut down due to the impact of the pandemic
HDT Taxi Singapore has announced that they will be winding up their taxi operations in Singapore due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
They have applied to the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) to exit from the taxi business and LTA has accepted their application.
HDT Singapore operates a fleet of about 100 electric taxis and had originally planned to expand to 800 by 2022. They operate differently from other taxi operators where their drivers are paid a monthly salary and get CPF contributions, annual and medical leaves.
About 90 taxi-drivers and 4 back-end staff were let go as they shut down their taxi business. Those retrenched will be paid a retrenchment benefit including a month of salary for every year of service on a pro-rata basis. All drivers will also be given the Annual Wage Supplement and their Medisave will be topped up until the end of 2020.
CNA reported that HDT Singapore Managing Director Mr James Ng said the firm will be working closely with the National Taxi Association to help retrenched drivers find new jobs with other taxi operators or taxi companies.
“Those who wish to become drivers of HDT’s private hire cars or private bus services will be most welcomed,” said Mr Ng.
Update – 2 August 2018
HDT Taxi has been granted a Taxi Service Operator Licence for 10 years by The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA). In the press release by LTA, HDT Taxi will be required to increase its electric taxi fleet to 800 from the existing 100. They will be given 4 years to meet the required fleet size.
Previously, the company has been operating for 2 years under a special provisional license issued to look into the viability of electric vehicle business model in Singapore.
What is next for HDT
HDT will be required to convert all its existing fleet of electric taxi to the regular taxis by end of August 2018. They will also need to increase the number of charging station infrastructure to support the demand of its growing fleet.
With the taxi operator licence, HDT will also have to meet and comply with the Taxi Availability Standards and Quality of Service Standards imposed by LTA.
Unlike the traditional taxi driver, HDT’s taxi drivers are full-time employees of the company which means they get CPF, annual and medical leaves. This has proven to be a very attractive model and Uber has rolled out similar fixed salary model call Uber Fleet Partner
The HDT taxi driver’s package includes a basic salary of $1,600 a month plus CPF contributions, which can go up to $2,800 with OT pay.
HDT Taxi also incentivises their hardworking employees by paying them more when they make more money for the company. The monthly revenue target set for each cabbie is $7500. For example, If the cabbie achieves $8,500 in revenue, over and beyond the monthly target, their gross salary increases to $4,300.
Besides pick-ups from street hail, HDT taxi drivers can also get booking jobs from Grab. Grab has partnered HDT to provide taxi-booking jobs. HDT taxi drivers also get to keep all incentives given by Grab, on top of the package from HDT.
Since HDT taxi drivers are employees of the company, they do not have to pay for rental and petrol, the 2 biggest costs to a taxi driver.HDT Taxi also provides FREE charging for its fleet of electric-cabs.
BYD the China Based company that manufactures its electric taxis is in a partnership with the company and one would believe they can get the taxi at a better price.
There will be 67 charging stations in seven areas islandwide. Every 1.5 hours of charging can let the e-taxi travel up to 400km and it cost half to operate an electric taxi than diesel taxi
It will use electric vehicles from BYD (Build Your Dreams), a China-based auto and battery manufacturer that has one of the world richest man as its shareholder in Warren Buffett. HDT Singapore will also be the first in Singapore to offer a full-time salary and CPF contributions to their drivers if they meet the target set by the company. It will be a first in the industry to hire drivers where the industry practice is to lease out to taxi drivers where there are no CPF contributions.