Singapore Airshow 2016

Organisers ease cab crunch at air show

Singapore Airshow visitors watching an aerobatic flying display yesterday. On Tuesday, visitors were left waiting for over an hour to get a taxi. Experia Events said it had alleviated the situation by increasing the frequency of shuttle bus services
Singapore Airshow visitors watching an aerobatic flying display yesterday. On Tuesday, visitors were left waiting for over an hour to get a taxi. Experia Events said it had alleviated the situation by increasing the frequency of shuttle bus services and working with the Land Transport Authority to encourage more taxis to ply the trade show.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG
People waiting in line to catch a taxi out of the Singapore Airshow yesterday at around 5pm. The waiting time for a cab then was around 30 minutes.
People waiting in line to catch a taxi out of the Singapore Airshow yesterday at around 5pm. The waiting time for a cab then was around 30 minutes.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

Singapore Airshow organisers yesterday moved to solve a cab crisis which had left visitors waiting over an hour for a ride home on Tuesday.

Some at the Changi Exhibition Centre event had to wait up to 21/2 hours due to the high demand.

Experia Events said it had alleviated the situation by increasing the frequency of shuttle bus services and working with the Land Transport Authority to encourage more taxis to ply the trade show.

By 5pm yesterday, the waiting time for a cab was around 30 minutes while ushers directed those who did not wish to wait to shuttle buses connecting to Singapore Expo, where more transportation options such as buses and the MRT were available.

An hour later, the waiting time had been reduced to around 10 minutes, and by 6.30pm there were no queues for taxis or shuttle buses.

The measures will be in place this weekend when the event opens to the public.

Organisers attributed Tuesday's long waiting times to the high demand during peak periods and an almost 10 per cent increase in visitors from the 2014 show.

On-call taxis, as well as services like Uber and Grab, were blocked by Experia to avoid the traffic congestion that occurred in previous years.

Mr Max Smetannikov, chief executive officer of a public relations firm, waited less than 15 minutes for a cab yesterday.

On Tuesday, he had waited more than a hour before giving up and taking a shuttle bus instead.

"There were no cabs then," he said .

Mr Tisanut Ratanarat, chief executive officer of an aviation firm, said Tuesday's queue was the worst he had seen in several years of attending the air show but added that the situation had "improved tremendously" yesterday.

Some visitors, however, felt that more could be done.

Ms Shireen Lim, a programme manager in a technology company, said that the $10 surcharge for taxis from the venue was "exorbitant".

The 39-year-old also urged organisers to allow visitors to ride bicycles and other personal mobility devices to the venue.

"I live nearby, I should be able to cycle in if I want to," said Ms Lim.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'Organisers ease cab crunch at air show'. Print Edition | Subscribe