Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced that the TA framework will be simplified from 1 January 2017 following the review of the Taxi Availability (TA) framework and in consultation with key stakeholders such as the National Taxi Association (NTA), taxi drivers and taxi companies.
LTA stated that the “Percentage of Taxis with Minimum Daily Mileage of 250km” requirement and the shoulder peak periods requirement in the “Percentage of Taxis on the Roads during Peak Periods” indicator, will be removed.
Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr) wrote a letter as his response to the announcement to The Straits Times Forum today (20 December) to the move that the Government made. He commented that the scraping of the 250km minimum daily mileage that cabbies have to clock on 1 January, will only enable such drivers to resume their old habits, which will cause passengers to find it even harder to get a cab.
Dr Loh, who is ST Forum’s writer of the week, June this year, wrote that as he spoke to many cab drivers, they told him that most of them that they rent taxis more for their own use and pick up passengers only when they want to. Therefore, passengers would then have to resort to ride-hailing services.
This is a risk for the passengers, as the drivers do not have the same rigorous training as cabbies and may not have the appropriate insurance coverage, should accidents occur.
Dr Loh wrote, “The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that commuters will not be affected because taxi operators still have to ensure that 85 per cent of their fleets are on the road during peak periods.”
“But enforcement would surely be near impossible,” he added.
He then stressed that the LTA has to ensure that its recommendations are effective in practice when the changes are made.
Taxi drivers posted their protest remarks on Singapore Taxi Driver Facebook page, saying that the article by Dr Loh is totally untrue.
The taxi drivers said that it is simply impossible for taxi drivers to rent the cars for their personal use as, currently, the rental is so much cheaper using private hire vehicle (PHV). Therefore, why would people now still rent a taxi for personal use?
They stated that the remove of the daily mileage is an unnecessary move by LTA as it is not the real issue faced by the taxi drivers.
Ranger Chua commented that the biggest issue that the taxi drivers are facing is the existence of Uber and Grab and suggest that the Government should impose the 250km target mileage on the cab-hailing services since they like to drive so much and noted that most taxi drivers have no issues meeting the target to begin with.
Thomas Tan wrote that there are two reasons why it so difficult to get a cab in Singapore. The efficiency of the taxi company’s call system and people unwilling to pay for on call service. Yet, drivers are given as the main reason for “shortage ” of cabs?
Tommy Tom said, “On one hand, people acknowledged that empty cruising is a lost on both the taxi driver and environment, and even Honorable Ho Ching admitted it, and now, this so called Dr can come out with rubbish statement telling the public that taxis will go back to their bad habit. Is ST trying to make news and fun out of taxi drivers expense?”
Randy Sky Ivan said that ERP is another issue. He said that he believes certain places are full with cabs but Central Business District (CBD) area shortage of cab it’s because of the ERP charger. But Thomas Tan disagreed saying that there are many reasons. Noting that not all cabbies like to cramp. “If you at the wrong place at wrong time, could take up 5 to 15 minutes, that really a waste of precious time. Furthermore, CBD so many traffic lights.
Another Randy wrote, “So the report is pretty shady yah? He said several cabbies rent taxis for personal use. Didn’t do proper research on the numbers and just put it out there with such a big headline, Self-pawned article.”