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Allow 45-minute grace period at public car parks for taxi drivers to recharge between trips

The Covid-19 pandemic and remote work have affected the bottom lines of many transport services and operators.

The move will be a symbolic act of support for taxi drivers, says the writer.

The move will be a symbolic act of support for taxi drivers, says the writer.

Benjamin Ho Tze Ern

The Covid-19 pandemic and remote work have affected the bottom lines of many transport services and operators.

Among them, taxi drivers have suffered substantial income losses. While the reopening of Singapore’s economy has seen a gradual increase in their takings, many cabbies continue to earn less than what they received before the pandemic struck.

In this regard, the rental discounts provided by major transport operators such as ComfortDelGro and SMRT have helped.

But more can be done. 

For one, allow taxi drivers a longer grace period while in car parks managed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

At present, most of these car parks allow motorists a 10-minute grace period for picking up and dropping off passengers. For taxi drivers, this is barely enough for a meaningful break, be it for a meal or nap.

Unlike bus drivers who may take longer breaks between shifts and use interchange facilities to recharge, taxi drivers can rest only on the go. Petrol stations and roadside coffee shops are less-than-optimal places for more sustained breaks between journeys.

While many taxi drivers have tried their best to operate amid these challenging conditions, including finding creative ways to tend to their biological needs in the course of driving daily, this is not desirable in the long run for their physical and emotional well-being.

I, therefore, propose that the authorities consider extending the grace period for taxis to 45 minutes at all HDB and URA car parks.

This way, taxi drivers may rest for longer periods at more locations between trips without having to incur parking charges. 

The savings may not be substantial, but given the challenging economic conditions, it would represent a symbolic act of support and encouragement for our drivers who continue to ply the roads, come rain or shine. 

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number. 

Related topics

taxi driver health car park HDB URA

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