The Straits Times
Published on Jan 02, 2013

Review taxi system to meet families' transport needs


IT IS unrealistic to expect everyone who has children or elderly family members to be able to own a car ("Target usage, not ownership of cars" by Mr Daniel Sim; last Saturday).

Moreover, no matter how low certificate of entitlement prices go, cars are still a significant expense, and there will be families who cannot afford to own one but require doorstep to doorstep transport.

It is timely to review the current taxi system we have in terms of both availability and affordability.

Over the past few years, a slew of surcharges have been added.

But while the cost of taking a taxi has risen, this has not resulted an improvement in the availability of taxis on the road.

Taxis incur an expense only when used, and are ideal for ferrying the less mobile for the occasional trips.

In today's system, taxis are rented out to the drivers, who then pocket the money they earn beyond the rent and expenses.

I suggest that taxi drivers be paid a salary and work a set number of hours.

Taxis can then charge affordable rates so that families do not have to fret about getting a car.

The details need fleshing out, but in the long term, having a viable public transport that meets the needs of families will be a boon, especially with an ageing population.

Peter Chen