Two months after taking up the Senior Minister of State for Transport position, the former army man has had to listen to taxi association uncles cow beh cow bu about how its the government’s fault that taxi companies are driving down the path of ruin.
Yesterday (16 Nov), Mr Ng met members of the National Taxi Association for a panel discussion, and afterwards received a letter with a “to-do-list” for the government.
It was signed by 300 taxi drivers, which means the NTA had already kicked into fourth gear in the war against third-party transport apps like GrabTaxi and Uber.
The NTA complained that taxi drivers are getting the raw end of the stick.
It said that the compliance costs put on taxi operators by the government translates into higher rental costs for taxi drivers and fares for commuters.
An example of this – a shelf life of 8 years for taxis, and inspections every 6 months to meet emission standards.
The NTA also pointed out that taxi operators had to follow a fixed schedule of charges laid out by the LTA, while private-car hire services were not bound by this.
It wants the government to review the ruling that taxi operators must have the bulk of their fleet on the road during peak hours, and that taxis must fulfill a minimum daily mileage.
Another aspect of contention – the 60-hour vocational licensing course which taxi drivers must undergo, in addition to regular medical checks.
Calling the government’s control of the taxi industry as “prescriptive, distorting and costly”, the NTA wants the Transport Ministry to level the playing field by reviewing the standards and cost structure imposed on taxis.
Mr Ng has asked the Land Transport Authority to maintain the status quo for now while he seeks more feedback with other stakeholders.