SINGAPORE: After reports of taxi touting circulated late last month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday (Dec 15) that it has taken enforcement action against seven taxi drivers who committed overcharging offences between September 2023 and early December 2023 at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Changi Airport.

For collecting fares S$20 or more above the metered fare, two drivers were given 21 demerit points, which could mean a revocation of their vocational licences. For collecting a fare less than S$20 above the metered fare, two other drivers would get 12 demerit points. It takes only six demerit points for a driver to get suspended. The other three drivers had charged fares higher than the meter showed, but passengers did not accept rides. These cabbies were given three demerit points each.

The cabbies have been fined for the offences. LTA said that the drivers were offered an opportunity to compound their offences in lieu of being charged in Court. The four drivers who had overcharged passengers were slapped with a S$500 fine, while the three others have been made to pay a fine of S$100.

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In its statement, the authority referred to the issue of taxis overcharging at Marina Bay Sands: “LTA takes a serious view of touting and overcharging. Such practices by a minority of drivers compromise the interests of passengers, and undermine the integrity and reputation of the point-to-point passenger transport industry.”

It added that it will be stepping up enforcement efforts during the holidays and will not hesitate to take errant drivers to task, as well as continue conducting checks at high-traffic areas, potential hotspots and locations reported by members of the public frequently.

“LTA has also issued a circular to taxi operators urging them to reinforce awareness among their drivers of the penalties for touting and overcharging,” it added. Anyone who wishes to report a cabby for touting, overcharging, or refusing to use the taxi meter may do so through feedback@LTA.gov.sg or the e-service “Report Vehicle-Related Offences” at www.OneMotoring.lta.gov.sg.

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Last month, reports of taxi touting at Marina Bay Sands dismayed Singaporeans, who were upset that some drivers have been charging between S$50 to S$65 from MBS to Orchard Road or Little India, both of which are only four kilometres away.

On Nov 26, 8world reported incidents of drivers in vehicles offering rides to people looking to book cabs at exorbitant rates. A reporter from 8world, acting like she urgently needed a ride, was given a quote of S$50 for a trip to Orchard Road.

Taxi drivers who have asked for exorbitant fares have said the high rates are due to traffic and bad weather conditions. Many of the people approached by these drivers are tourists or foreigners. Some visitors to Singapore are likely unaware that taxi drivers must use the meter and issue receipts when requested. /TISG