I refer to the recent letters expressing concern over the use of public funds to promote taxi ridership, with some questioning if it was right for public funds to be used to subsidise taxi fares. We would like to clarify on the objectives of the $1 million fund and to put the issues in perspective.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA), in consultation with the taxi companies and the Taxi Operators Association (TOA), decided to set up a fund as a temporary measure to provide some help to the taxi industry and to serve the following three objectives. First, it aims to improve the service levels of taxi drivers, so as to enhance the overall delivery of service to commuters, by co-funding initiatives such as programmes on good service behaviours. Second, it encourages the industry to do more to stimulate demand, by co-funding initiatives from the taxi companies for up to one-third of the cost of the promotional activities, but this will expressly exclude any direct subsidy of taxi fares. Third, it serves to improve demand through improving convenience and accessibility for taxi commuters during major events like the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Singapore River Hongbao, by supporting additional infrastructure facilities such as temporary taxi stands.
Such efforts will, on the whole, help the taxi industry better match the current taxi supply with demand, while continuing to improve service levels for the benefit of commuters. Our objective is not just to help the industry cope with the downturn, but to also position the industry for the economic recovery and to better meet the additional demand expected when major projects like the Integrated Resorts open later this year. Disbursements from the fund are by application only, and only proposals that meet the stipulated requirements will be approved. While a $1 million budget has been set aside, actual utilization will depend on the merits of the proposals we receive.
Mr Jeremy Yap
Group Director, Vehicle & Transit Licensing
Land Transport Authority