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downgrader
20-02-2009, 04:37 AM
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/410261/1/.html

Taxi drivers more willing to flout rules during tough times
By Sufian Suderman, TODAY | Posted: 20 February 2009 0724 hrs


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SINGAPORE: As demand for taxi rides falls amid the economic downturn, some cabbies appear to be more willing to flout traffic rules, including the requirement that they pick up and drop off passengers only at taxi stands in the Central Business District (CBD).

"Sometimes, I cut into the bus lanes just to pick up passengers. I know it is wrong and I can get demerit points. But times are bad. I can wait for two hours from 6pm to 8pm and no one will be waiting at the taxi stands. I just have to take the risk (of being booked)," said a taxi driver, who did not want to be named.

Freelance-writer Nadiah Mohd Gulzar said: "I don't usually take taxis illegally in the CBD because most of the time, there would be a snaking queue of taxis at the taxi stand, so getting a cab would be no problem at all."

"However, there are times, for example, during lunch, when you can be waiting and waiting for a cab at the taxi stand and none will stop. You even see a few speeding by. It's at times like these I get annoyed and if I'm in a hurry, I will move away from the taxi stand to somewhere down the road where I know I can get a cab, although it is illegal now," she said.

But many of the taxi drivers TODAY spoke to agree that the taxi stand rule helps to cut down traffic congestion in the CBD and ensure that cabs stop and move off safely, especially during peak periods.

"I do not alight by the side of the road mainly because I try not to get the taxi driver into trouble," said Mr Leong Wai Kit, 30, an advertising executive who works in the CBD.

The CBD taxi-stand rule, implemented last March, requires cabs to pick up and drop off passengers only at designated stands in the CBD.

The rule applies between 7am and 10pm from Mondays to Saturdays on roads used by public buses, except on public holidays. Cabbies who flout the rule can be fined $100 and given three demerit points.

A Land Transport Authority spokesperson said it is working with the taxi companies and taxi operator associations to remind cabbies of the rule.