My letter on the above subject is published in the New Paper today, Tuesday, 25th May 2010, page 17. Read on.....
I refer to the report, “ Cabby gives himself just 5 min for lunch” (The New Paper, May 21).
I feel sorry for our taxi drivers who have to slog long hours to provide for themselves and their families, besides having to worry about meeting their mortgage payments on their flats.
Many taxi drivers have told me that with more surcharges and higher ERP rates, they have lost passengers. The cost of living in Singapore is rising and people have to be more prudent in their spending.
At the same time, there are the sick, the disabled and the elderly who have no choice but to take taxis for their medical appointments at public hospitals.
My wife who is unable to take the MRT or buses because of her severe arthritis, needs to take taxis for all her medical appointments. And most of the time, her medical appointments to see the specialists at public hospitals fall within the peak period.
As a full-time caregiver who gave up my job nine years ago, I find these taxi charges too much for us to afford.
Though receational needs are vital to my wife's recovery from schizophrenia and depression, we have to forgo outings and attending church services because taking a taxi is too expensive. Does anybody care?
When I approached the Handicaps Welfare Association to ask for transport to take my wife to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, I was told that I would have to pay double the fees if the pick up is before 9am.
Despite repeated calls for better support for people with disabilities, the sick and elderly, we still struggle with these issues.
How can caregiving in Singapore be taken to a higher level when there is no welfare for these citizens? Little wonder that many caregivers who cannot cope have abandoned their stricken ones.
Removing these taxi surcharges will not only benefit the taxi drivers, but it will also help to reduce the financial burden placed on this group citizens.
Reducing the taxi rental costs will also help taxi drivers maintain a healthier lifestyle. Many Singaporeans have to end up in hospitals or polyclinics because of the stress of our unhealthy lifestyle.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO