The National Taxi Association (NTA) and e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) jointly organised its first Share-a-Taxi workshop with strong support from the Land Authority Transport and various taxi operators. This workshop aims to encourage taxi drivers and new taxi driver vocational licence (TDVL) holders to consider the option of co-sharing a taxi as well as help new TDVL holders better understand the taxi industry challenges.
The idea of the Share-a-Taxi workshop was mooted due to feedback from many taxi drivers that they continue to face challenges in finding relief drivers. This has in turn caused some drivers especially those on single shift, difficulties in meeting the Taxi Availability Indicators (TA). As a result, these taxi drivers have to drive longer hours and longer distances to clock the criteria.
“We want to help taxi driver overcome challenges they face in their job. When two or three taxi drivers can co-share a taxi, they will be able to better manage time, their lifestyle and health. The burden of addressing the rising cost of rental and meeting the indicators will also be lessened. We make every taxi work harder, not the drivers,” said NTA Executive Adviser Mr Ang Hin Kee.
e2i Chief Executive Officer Mr Gilbert Tan said, ‘As an extension of e2i's efforts in job matching and solutions creating, we are working with NTA to help taxi drivers find partners to share operation costs and to optimise driving hours. Moving forward, we will also collaborate to improve service standards and provide safety training so that the work of taxi drivers can be Easier, Safer and Smarter.”
About the Share-a-Taxi Session
Some 250 taxi drivers, including new TDVL holders are expected at the event. Four taxi operators – namely ComfortDelGro, Premier Taxi, SMRT Taxi and Trans-Cab will have booths to engage these taxi drivers and potential drivers. Participants will be given an opportunity to communicate, network and “match-make”.
Mr. Benny Lim, Senior Vice President, SMRT Roads said, “SMRT believes in creating a conducive work environment for our hirers, as their well-being contributes directly to the comfortable and reliable rides we strive to deliver to our passengers.
Today’s session holds testament to our full support and commitment to work with partners like NTA in enhancing co-sharing and relief driver matching opportunities for our hirers. Within SMRT Taxis, management is also constantly reviewing internal programmes to ensure that hirers receive the best support and training required in order to manage and meet dynamic business requirements of the taxi industry.”
Taxi leaders will also be sharing on cost and health management, as well as job hazards, rules and regulations etc. This is to help taxi drivers better cope with common challenges faced and to help new taxi licence holders understand the industry.
Kelvin Lim, a Trans-Cab taxi driver: “It has been really taxing having to meet the TA indicators as a one-man-operator. I have to clock longer hours and still may not meet the requirement sometimes. I have been trying to find a relief driver, but it is really not easy to find a suitable one who can share the responsibility. More of such platforms should help increase the chances and I am hoping that it will be helpful in successful matches soon.”
Taking a step further
Going forward, NTA will be working closely with taxi operators to enhance the concept of co-sharing a taxi. For a start, NTA is currently in talks with SMRT Taxi to bring this concept further through a formal agreement between the taxi hirer and relief driver to protect the roles and responsibilities of each. NTA is also exploring with taxi operators the possibility of formalising a new hiring arrangement where two drivers be assigned to a new vehicle. More details will be shared once it is ready.
“While the discussion on further enhancements to the taxi co-sharing concept is still ongoing, we are hopeful and happy that taxi operators are enlightened and are willing to take a further step in bettering the lives of the taxi drivers. We also hope that taxi operators and other partners will continue to make use of such platforms to reach out to more taxi drivers. And that through this process, more cab drivers can continue to drive healthily and happily,” Mr Ang concluded.