Taxi, private-hire drivers and Changi Airport staff receive thanks on first day of CNY

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung greeting staff at a currency exchange counter at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Sunday. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung giving a goodie bag to a taxi driver at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Sunday. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

SINGAPORE – On the first day of Chinese New Year on Sunday, Mr Joseph Goh hit the road early for some extra cash before celebrations with his family later in the day.

The 57-year-old, who has been a private-hire vehicle driver for about six years, said he prefers to work even during holidays to make sure he has enough to cover the daily rental fee of $90 for his Toyota Noah. Mr Goh drives for several ride-hailing platforms, clocking 12- to 14-hour shifts every day.

On Sunday, he and other private-hire vehicle drivers, taxi drivers, as well as airport staff at Changi Airport Terminal 3, received thanks for providing essential services during the festive period.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung and Senior Minister of State for Transport and Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor joined leaders from two affiliated associations of the National Trades Union Congress – the National Taxi Association (NTA) and National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) – in handing out gift bags and engaging with the workers.

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Yeo Wan Ling, who is also an adviser to NTA and NPHVA, said: “It has been a tough two-over years for our point-to-point driving community – braving the dry ridership spells that the pandemic brought and marching on despite low or zero earnings for stretches of time in the darkest moments.

“Our taxi and private-hire vehicle drivers have been putting in longer working hours to cater to the transportation needs of the community and, more recently, the increase in international visitors. Today, we thank them for their tenacity and resilience, and for sacrificing their family time to ferry us from point to point during this festive period.”

She added that both associations will continue to ensure that drivers’ interests are taken care of, and that they receive the support they need.

Mr Goh, who is also a general secretary of NPHVA, said: “Even though costs are rising, it is also important to remember to spend time with our families for special occasions like Chinese New Year. We, as drivers, are also human.”

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On Sunday (Jan 22), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung met drivers and staff at Changi Airport and healthcare workers at Sengkang General Hospital. During the visits, he expressed his thanks to those providing essential services during Chinese New Year.

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