SINGAPORE — Seven taxi drivers have been issued fines for overcharging passengers at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Changi Airport between September and early December.
Two of them had their vocational licence revoked after each chalking up 21 demerit points for the offence. They had collected a fare that was S$20 (US$15) or more above the metered fare, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday (Dec 15).
Another two had their vocational licence suspended for collecting a fare that was less than S$20 above the metered fare. They were each handed 12 demerit points, which is double the threshold for a suspension.
The other three drivers were found to have demanded fares beyond the metered fare but the passengers did not accept the ride. They will be penalised with three demerit points.
LTA added that the seven drivers were offered the option to pay a composition sum or a fine in lieu of being charged in court.
Those who had their vocational licence revoked or suspended were handed a S$500 fine, while the others were issued a S$100 fine.
There have been recent concerns about taxi touts at MBS, an iconic destination that features a casino, convention space, restaurants and luxury shops.
It was reported last month that some taxi drivers at MBS quoted fares of S$50 to S$65 for a ride that was just 4km, citing rainy weather and traffic jams.
“LTA has worked with MBS, where there have been more incidents of touting and overcharging, to enhance traffic circulation and manage the taxi queue along the driveway of the integrated resort,” the authority said in its media release on Friday.
“In addition, MBS will be setting up a limousine service counter at the driveway to provide the public with a premium service option, should they opt not to join the queue for a metered taxi. This is to ensure that limousine transport services are carried out properly.”
MBS said in response to CNA’s queries that it has implemented measures such as increasing supervision with the deployment of more traffic marshals at the driveways. It has also installed traffic cones to prevent taxis from stopping in unauthorised areas.
“We have also put up signage aimed at deterring such acts by taxi drivers and informing guests to be aware of potential illegal taxi touting,” said MBS, adding that it takes a “firm stance” against taxi touting at its cab stands.
LTA did not name the taxi companies that the errant drivers worked for.
It said in response to CNA’s queries that six of the seven drivers committed the offences at MBS. One driver was caught at both MBS and Changi Airport on two separate occasions.
“Of those who received 12 and 21 demerit points, three drivers committed the offences at MBS,” LTA said, adding that the incidents were detected through its enforcement efforts and public feedback.
LTA said it will step up enforcement efforts during the festive period.
“We will also continue to conduct frequent checks at high-traffic areas, potential hotspots and locations reported to LTA by members of the public,” it added.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, advisor to the National Taxi Association and National Private Hire Vehicles Association said that the associations receive feedback from member drivers about reports of touting.
“Such activities give our Singaporean taxi and private hire driving trade a bad reputation and directly impact the livelihoods and safety of our drivers,” she wrote.
“We will continue to take proactive actions to enable our drivers to operate in a fair and positive environment, providing our Singapore drivers with a sustainable platform to earn a living ethically and safely.”
LTA said it has issued a circular to taxi operators urging the companies to reinforce awareness among their drivers of the penalties for touting and overcharging.CNA
For more reports like this, visit cna.asia.