Hawker centres

Ensure enhancements don't promote seat hogging

The report by the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee fills me with both eager anticipation and trepidation ("Hawker centres to get new look and roles"; Feb 4).

More variety and creativity in food offerings are things that all hawker centre patrons relish.

However, the inclusion of free Wi-Fi and events and activities may be self-defeating in the bid to attract many customers.

It will probably result in customers hogging seats even after they have finished their meals, just so they can enjoy the complimentary Wi-Fi or entertainment.

When customers do not vacate their seats, no new customers can be served, and stall operators suffer.

If patrons experience difficulty in getting a seat, they will avoid the hawker centre altogether.

Despite the best soft approaches to discourage this kind of behaviour, it is almost a constant battle between stall operators and customers, especially during peak hours.

I hope the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources will keep this in mind when studying the proposal by the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee.

Christopher Tang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2017, with the headline 'Ensure enhancements don't promote seat hogging'. Print Edition | Subscribe