Oh, so it seemed like they do have enforcement officers, but apparently there are not enough to go round the block. While I understand that the taxi companies are meant to be profitable, but does this mean that they can leave the integrity of their cab drivers (hirers) outside at the laundry lines?

Perhaps at the end of the day, it’s just a matter of dollars and cents, but I guess it doesn’t help much that the taxi companies are taking the lead in increasing surcharges.

Few enforcement officers, so ‘how many can they catch?’

WITH 23,348 taxis on the road, the Land Transport Authority’s enforcement officers and taxi companies are heavily outnumbered.

While the LTA declined to say how many officers they have, ComfortDelGro, the largest operator with 15,000 taxis, has only eight.

When The Sunday Times joined the LTA on a crackdown three weeks ago, only 10 officers were present.

Commuter C.K. Phua, 42, asked: ‘How many can they catch if it’s just that handful against thousands of cabs?’

ComfortDelGro has already fired five cabbies caught touting this year, with 20 others warned.

The LTA penalised 287 errant cabbies between January and September, surpassing the 202 drivers punished over the whole of last year.

Taxi firms also conduct operations to keep touting cabbies in check while at times they join forces with the LTA. ComfortDelGro fleet administrative manager Lee Choo Kin heads a team of eight officers who conduct regular checks on its 32,000 drivers.

They work in pairs or threes at touting hot spots such as Clarke Quay and Boat Quay at least three times a month. Officers will pose as passengers and discreetly record the details of a cabby who offers a flat rate without using the meter. Other officers keep an eye on loitering touts.

The LTA said a typical investigation into an errant cabby takes about ‘several weeks’.

Mr Cedric Foo, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, wants the LTA to step up enforcement.

‘Touting does not sit well with the Singapore Tourism Board’s mission to draw more tourists to Singapore.’  

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 4th November 2007

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