Forum: Subsidise COE cost of wheelchair-accessible vehicles to improve transport inclusivity

As a person with muscular dystrophy and who uses a wheelchair, I had planned to attend the last Land Transport Authority (LTA) focus group discussion on Thursday.

Unfortunately, transport plans changed and I could not get there in the end.

Although some mainstream transport companies offer wheelchair transport services, I am unable to use most of them.

For instance, I cannot take GrabAssist, as my carer finds it strenuous to transfer me onto the passenger seat.

Medical transport services ComfortDelGro MedCare and GrabAssist Plus are also costly, at between $70 and $113 per trip.

Recently, I attended a two-day workshop in Chinatown with my boss and colleague. I booked Vimo Services to take me there.

Despite already providing the most affordable wheelchair transport service, its fee amounted to $196 for the two days of transport.

I also attended the Ministry of National Development public housing discussion at the URA Centre on Sept 25.

I had booked Vimo Services then, but due to the unavailability of drivers, my ride was outsourced to another operator.

The round trip cost $120 because it was on a weekend.

Later, I asked the operator's chief executive officer whether the Government subsidises the certificate of entitlement cost (COE) for wheelchair-accessible vehicles for transport operators like his. He said no.

Hence, I call on the Ministry of Transport and LTA to consider subsidising 10 per cent to 25 per cent of the COE cost of such vehicles.

This will reduce their operating costs, make it cheaper for their disabled customers and enable a more inclusive transport system in Singapore for people like me.

Shalom Lim Ern Rong

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