Friday, November 23, 2007

Death of the Independent Operator

Tight commerce laws and regulations have caused the wealth to accumulate at the upper echelons of the many corporate pyramids here in Singapore. Take the example of Taxi drivers/companies here in Singapore.

Are taxi drivers still allowed to own their own vehicles? Are the independent operators being squeezed out from the field? Or, are cabbies forever tied to a taxi company via a leash, subjected to the whims of the taxi company if they so choose to remain a taxi driver? Its not so bad, if the taxi drivers have strong union representation, but in Singapore, unions are virtually powerless unless union laws are changed.

There is no justification of for the highly paid CEOs of the transport companies whose monthly salary that may feed up to half a dozen families of taxi drivers. Owning his/her own vehicle would benefit the driver in the long run, giving him/her greater responsibility and control over his/her earnings, which incidentally, does contribute to the narrowing of the income gap here in Singapore. Spread the wealth amongst the people, why must everything go upwards?

Taxi companies, as they get bigger, will get “top heavy” with the needs to pay for huge office rentals, exorbitant salaries of senior executives and other resources, to manage the fleet of taxis. Leaving the onus of the taxi maintenance to the driver/owner is one way to go. Taxi companies should remain, to give those drivers who prefer rental a choice. Giving them a choice will then drive the taxi companies to give those who chose to rent, better perks for rental, or even lower rental costs. Also the freedom for taxi owners to rent out their vehicles when they are ill or unable to drive. Why must everything thing here in SG be so tight assed.

But that’s the trend of our country’s economy isn’t it? Somehow, the “comfort zone” is always just an inch away, but still unable to reach it. This phenomenon is extremely prevalent in the middle lower income groups. Co’mon PAP, give the little guy a chance to run his little business, and earn a little comfortable living.

Project manager who is exposed to both working in SG and Australia quoted saying "PMs in SGP have it easy, here in Aust, have to make the staff as happy as you want the customer to be. In SGP, just squeeze, staff have to comply, if not, there is always someone else cheaper to do the job."

Tis the result of capitalism some may assert. Well, there is capitalism and there is the government making amicable polices that level the playing field a little bit. Don't kill the little guy out to make a living.

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