More taxis needed at polyclinics

As a student who volunteers at Hougang Polyclinic every school holiday, I have noticed the problem of the lack of availability of taxis at the polyclinic.

The "taxi needed" sign may be blinking for a long time, but very few taxis come in to pick patients up. It is not uncommon for patients to wait for up to half an hour before they can finally get a taxi.

I have often approached elderly patients to ask if they would like to call for a taxi. Most of the time, they refuse, saying they do not want to spend extra money booking a taxi.

There have also been many instances of patients being turned down by taxi drivers after the driver noticed their wheelchairs.

They may be reluctant to drive patients who use wheelchairs, since wheelchairs may be heavy to lift into the taxi's boot.

However, drivers may be assured that volunteers and the patient's family members will often help with the wheelchair, thus making the task easier.

It has been reported that cabbies are finding it hard to cope with competition.

Healthcare facilities are often a place where there is a demand for taxis.

I hope that long queues for taxis will soon clear at a faster pace and that patients have a smoother experience at the polyclinic.

Shruthi C Iyer, 15,

Secondary 4 student

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'More taxis needed at polyclinics'. Print Edition | Subscribe