On-call taxis not allowed at upcoming Singapore Airshow

Aerial display by the Black Eagles from the Republic of Korea Air Force at the Singapore Airshow 2014.
Aerial display by the Black Eagles from the Republic of Korea Air Force at the Singapore Airshow 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

Visitors to the upcoming Singapore Airshow will not be allowed to call for taxis, in a first-time move by the organisers to manage traffic congestion.

They will either have to join the normal taxi queue and pay a $10 taxi surcharge, or hop into shuttle buses that will ply the roads between the show site at Changi Exhibition Centre and Singapore Expo. The buses will run every 15 minutes and at shorter intervals if necessary.

Taxis that turn up with the on-call sign will have to join the normal queue or turn back, said Mr Leck Chet Lam, managing director of air show organiser Experia Events.

As for private vehicles, only those with the air show car label will be given access. This also means there will be no entry for Uber and Grab taxis and vehicles.

Mr Leck told The Straits Times that the new arrangement is aimed at reducing waiting times for those queuing for taxis, and minimising road congestion.

At the previous air shows, blocked lanes and congestion were a daily occurrence, especially after 5pm, due to on-call taxis and people joining the cab queue, as well as other vehicles trying to weave in and out of traffic at the site.

The organisers of this year's Singapore Airshow, which runs from Feb 16 to 21, hope to prevent a repeat of that this time.

"We are working with the local taxi companies to conduct briefings and on-site orientation sessions for their drivers to educate them about the traffic arrangements," said Mr Leck.

Measures are also being put in place to ensure that visitors are aware of the rules. The new traffic arrangements are being communicated across all channels, including the air show website, social media and advertisements.

Mr Leck said: "On-site signage will be displayed at the taxi queue location and throughout Changi Exhibition Centre to remind all visitors that on-call taxis and private car services are not permitted."

His team is also working closely with taxi companies to provide a constant supply of taxis during the air show, he said.

The last edition of the Singapore Airshow in 2014 attracted more than 40,000 trade visitors over the first four days. Another 100,000 people visited the air show on the two public days.

National Taxi Association president Gerald Chan said: "We have been briefed and we are aware of the new traffic guidelines for the coming air show. Taxi drivers have been informed that there will be no holding area for on-call cabs so they are advised not to accept the bookings."

Asked whether it is a good move, Mr Chan said: "Whether it's good or not, these are the rules so we'll observe them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'On-call taxis not allowed at upcoming S'pore Airshow'. Print Edition | Subscribe