May 06, 2013

    Cabbies suffer under new rules

    IT WAS reported in the media last month that SMRT taxi drivers who fail to meet standards set by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) may have their leases terminated.

    I was not feeling well last Wednesday, but did not dare to stop driving and go home to rest, as I had not met the 250km requirement that day. There were not many passengers even though it was a public holiday that day, and I got home only at 11.30pm, after travelling 258km.

    With regard to the standards set by the LTA, the following concerns need to be addressed:


    On some days, it may take up to 14 hours to hit the 250km requirement, especially if a taxi is driven by only one driver.

    This requirement will affect the health of older drivers, exhausting them and making them fall ill over time. This may, in turn, make drivers less alert and affect their safety and, most importantly, that of their passengers.


    Taxi drivers do not get to spend much time with their families, especially on weekends. While many cabbies would try to meet the 250km requirement on weekdays, they would want to spend more time with their families, especially on weekends.

    In view of the many complaints from the public on the difficulty of getting a taxi at certain times of the day, LTA would certainly want to address the issue, but flexibility should be applied where feasible.

    Perhaps LTA could consider implementing an average-distance requirement, so that taxi drivers can work for half a day on Saturdays and Sundays, and get to spend more time with their families, or rest on one of the weekdays if needed.