We refer to the letter from Mr Teng Kwang Siang on “Fare Cheats: Taxi drivers need help” (14 Sep 2011).
The National Taxi Association (NTA) is aware of and concerned with the taxi fare cheat issue highlighted by Mr Teng and had deliberated the issue with our tripartite partners : the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and taxi companies. We also note the rising trend and suggest the following precautionary steps be taken by drivers to prevent fare evasion:
1. To collect whatever fare it is at the point of disembarkation if the passenger requests for a temporary stopover.
2. To request for the passenger’s contact number and personal identification card and note down his particulars. Such contact details could serve as a useful reference for taxi companies and the authorities to pursue the case in the event that the passenger fails to return.
Taxi drivers are making an honest living and they have families to support too. Therefore, any fare evasion attempt should be deterred and dealt with severely. NTA strongly urges the authorities to prosecute taxi fare cheats under the provision of Public Transport Council (PTC) Act Section 24D “Failure to pay taxi fare” to send a deterrent message to potential fare cheats. The Act stipulates that it is an offence if a person fails to pay the fare as stated in the taximeter at the end of the journey and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
Going forward, NTA will continue to review what more can be done to protect taxi drivers and enhance their safety on the job.
Wee Boon Kim