Singapore taxis prices are very reasonable and most are clean and well maintained. Their attitude is often business cool. When it comes to paying be aware there maybe extra charges. I accept these as an offset for tips, as they don't expect any. The Singapore taxi system is controlled under well defined regulations.
Here are few guidelines:
- The taxis are always metered, unless you negotiate a fix price.
- There are predetermined extra amounts from predetermined places, such as: from the airport to the hotel.
- There are predetermined extra amounts, at specific times of day, example, during rush hours.
- All taxis have the same mileage/time rate, even the very nice Mercedes Benz taxis. However, the Mercedes Benz taxi may have an extra flat charge. Ask before you get in, and decide for your self if the high class ride is worth the high class extra flat charge. I was told there was a $10 Singapore dollar extra charge. However, it was worth it because it was Friday night, I was going to dinner, and the traffic was slow, really slow. It being in a nice car made it more enjoyable.
Point is, ask what the extra charges are, then there will not be any surprises, nor bad feelings, when it comes time to pay.
Negotiations with Asians:
- Most everything is negotiable.
- Be prepared to walk away and get another taxi if you do not like the deal. Most places and times, it is straight forward to get another taxi.
- Negotiate the price before getting in the taxi. Else, he may drive off and then tell what the price is with you in a weaker position to say no.
- Be respectful.
- Be pleasant.
- Taxi drivers do busy every time someone gets into their vehicle; they are good at negotiations.
- They avoid confrontation. They like to save face for both themselves and you.
- The driver and you are trying to get a good price, just that the driver's good price maybe higher than your good price.
If you have a pleasant conversational taxi driver, ask him to drive around the city. After a Friday night dinner, I said to the driver, "Singapore is a great city. Drive through to downtown tall buildings." The driver felt good to hear I liked his city, and he proudly took on the role of tour guide, telling me interesting points and showing me places I had not seen before. Again, well worth the extra $10 Singapore dollars.
Good luck, keep your cool, be happy.