Saturday, October 22, 2011

London Taxis - Wheelchair bound passengers needs


I have been following the issue of SMRT's insistence to phase out London cabs citing low demand, availability of replacement model  amongst others.

However, the feedback from the wheelchair bound customers strongly suggest that the London cabs are not only suitable but are also in short supply (some bookings have to wait for one week). Apart from this group of users, London cabs also feature in weddings, special theme events and corporate bookings.

Besides, according to a group of London cab drivers, they had a meeting before with SMRT before and were acceptable with a reasonable increase in rental costs, if need be. 

Of course, it is SMRT's prerogative to discontinue using London cabs but the provision of services to the public, in particular the wheelchair bound passengers, is paramount consideration. Furthermore, SMRT does not suffer any losses from continuing to bring in London cabs as the taxis are fully rented out. 

Perhaps, if SMRT has decided to discontinue bringing in London cabs, why not LTA allows another operator to do so? If there are any legal restraints or priority in bringing in London cabs that was given to SMRT, SMRT should graciously consent to give up and let other operators continue.

A qualitative transport system should cater to all, including the less able. The transport provider must not think solely on commercial consideration but to consider providing an all round, socially acceptable and politically correct service.   


(written 13 Oct 2011 - received kind attention of MOT)

4 comments:

wizard said...

This letter received attention from the Ministry of Transport:

Dear Mr Kwek,

Thank you for your email to Minister Lui dated 13 October. He has read your email and asked that I reply on his behalf.

We have looked into your concerns and forwarded your feedback to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for their action. They will revert soon, and we have asked that they copy us in all future correspondence with you.

Meanwhile, should you need any further assistance, you can call us at 1800-278-3500 during office hours.

Have a pleasant day ahead.

Yours sincerely,
Alisa Chopard
For Quality Service Manager
Ministry of Transport

wizard said...

Dear M/s Alisa Chopard,

Thank you for your reply dated 17 Oct 11. Kindly update what is the latest status please.

The latest letter in STForum today by Mr Peter Loh, a tetraplegic London cab user, pretty sum up their pressing needs and the inadequacy of our public transport system for those wheelchair bound passengers.

May I also reiterate my suggestion that, perhaps, if SMRT has decided to discontinue bringing in London cabs, why not LTA allows another operator to do so? If there are any legal restraints or priority in bringing in London cabs that was given to SMRT, SMRT should graciously consent to give up and let other operators continue.

If all else fails, why not tweak the policy to allow London cabs drivers to personally own their taxi/cabs.

Please give priority to attend to this issue; A little indulgence will go a long way to alleviate the discomfort, inconvenience and 'sufferings' of our wheelchair bound fellowmen.

(25 Oct)

wizard said...

REPLY from LTA

We refer to your email of 13 October 2011 which was addressed to our Minister of Transport and subsequently referred to us by Ministry of Transport.

Taxis serve as a form of personalised transport providing door-to-door service that caters to the broad majority of commuters. Taxi companies have, on their own accord, introduced taxis that cater to passengers in wheelchairs. Apart from SMRT's London cabs and Hyundai Starex, ComforDelgro also runs a fleet of 200 MaxiCabs which are wheelchair-friendly.
Passengers with specialised needs, such as commuters in high-back wheelchairs, can also approach community organisations where their needs can be better catered too.
Nonetheless, we are further studying the possibility of requiring taxi companies to have a certain percentage of their taxi fleet to be wheelchair-friendly.

We hope the above clarifies and thank you for your feedback.


Yours sincerely



HENRY CHUA
EXECUTIVE SERVICE OFFICER
TAXI SERVICE DIVISION
VEHICLE & TRANSIT LICENSING GROUP
LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

wizard said...

Letter published in today TODAY newspaper

http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC111028-0000177/London-cabs-should-stay