Taxi firm Smart's licence not renewed

LTA is not renewing the license of Smart as it says the taxi operator has consistently failed to meet minimum service standards on areas such as its call booking cater rate, accident rate and first inspection passing rate. LTA notes that Smart's departure is unlikely to have a major impact on commuters, as the company's 268 taxis account for just around 1 per cent of the 27,700 taxis here.
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SINGAPORE - It is the end of the road for taxi company Smart: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will not renew its operator licence when it expires in September.

The LTA said Smart had failed to meet service standards on multiple occasions, and also did not meet requirements like a minimum fleet size.

"(Smart's) performance has been deteriorating; they have been struggling," LTA chief executive Chew Hock Yong said yesterday. "And actually they have been trying to look at ways to exit the market."

Smart, which came onto the scene in 2003, is the smallest of Singapore's seven taxi companies.

For the past 21/2 years, it consistently failed to meet the call booking cater rate - the percentage of calls that are successfully matched with taxis - and also failed other service standards, such as accident rate and first inspection passing rate.

Last year, the LTA added three more requirements for operators.

Yesterday, it said Smart "has not made substantial progress" in meeting these new standards.

For instance, Smart's fleet shrank from 701 in January last year to 268 last month, instead of expanding to the stipulated 800.

Smart's fleet also lacks the technology to identify which taxis are near a caller, or centrally controlled "on-call" display signs.

The LTA also noted that Smart had suffered financial losses in 2010 and 2011, and has not shown how it would finance its fleet.

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