Cabbies to get digital training

Six years after the arrival of ride-hailing apps, taxi giant ComfortDelGro and the National Taxi Association (NTA) are teaming up to train cabbies to help them cope in the fast-changing digital world.

The duo signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to form the Training Committee for Cabbies, which will provide taxi drivers with relevant digital training.

With fewer commuters hailing rides in the street and paying by cash, cabbies must know how to make use of relevant apps and other technological tools to secure bookings, locate passengers, collect fares, pay for parking, transact with taxi operators and navigate the island efficiently.

ComfortDelGro will send 10,000 of its 27,000 cabbies for a SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace (SFDW) course, which is supported by NTUC's e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and NTUC LearningHub (LHUB).

SFDW is part of a national initiative by SkillsFuture Singapore to help equip Singaporeans with the mindset and basic skills to prepare for the future economy.

Some 150 cabbies have already attended pilot SFDW classes and given feedback which will be incorporated in the new training programme.

Cabbies will be sent for training in batches, with 10,000 expected to complete the SFDW one-day course by the end of next year.

 

As cabbies are self-employed, NTUC's e2i and ComfortDelGro will provide an allowance to defray some of their lost earnings while they train.

ComfortDelGro will provide an additional allowance to cabbies who are NTA members.

Mr Ang Wei Neng, chief executive of ComfortDelGro Taxi, said: "We are happy to collaborate with NTA and the early partners - NTUC's e2i and LHUB - in equipping our cabbies with digital skills that are relevant to their everyday driving.

"Mobile applications have become so prevalent in the ride-hailing industry that it is important that our cabbies learn how to use them. For example, we have a ComfortDelGro Driver App that cabbies can use to bid for booking jobs even when they are not in the taxis."

Mr Ang Hin Kee, assistant director-general of NTUC and adviser to the NTA, said: "We appreciate the additional allowance support from ComfortDelGro to help encourage more taxi drivers to go for training.

"Close to half of the taxi drivers are aged 60 and above. It is important that they recognise the importance of being updated with practical and useful digital knowledge."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'Cabbies to get digital training'. Print Edition | Subscribe