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)