Danger down the road with private-hire car trend?

The popularity and efficiency of private-hire vehicle booking apps have benefited commuters and cabbies.

I have noticed that many private-hire vehicle drivers are in their 20s and early 30s, enticed to the industry by the low entry barrier, quick money and access to a car of their own.

They are at an age when they should be embarking on their long-term careers and contributing positively to the job market and the economy.

Many of these drivers are also well-educated, and it would appear that they are under-employed as private-hire vehicle drivers.

They contribute little or nothing to their Central Provident Fund accounts.

There are about 25,000 private-hire vehicles here (Rental car numbers surge; Sept 12, 2016). If 20,000 of these drivers are below 30 years old and if they had worked full time in other jobs, their combined contributions to CPF would have been about $20 million a month (assuming $1,000 a month in both employee and employer CPF contributions).

Should these young economically active Singaporeans continue to make driving their career, what will be the long-term social and economic cost to the country? Will they have enough to pay for housing or for their retirement? Will our CPF run low on funds in the future?

While disruptive technology is all the rage now, let us not forget to look at the long-term social and economic impact that it may have on Singapore.

Lim Fang Chek

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Danger down the road with private-hire car trend?'. Print Edition | Subscribe