- POSTED: 30 Sep 2013 00:30
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More than 100 drivers affected by the closure of Smart Cab have found jobs with other operators, most of them with Trans-Cab.
SINGAPORE: More than 100 drivers affected by the closure of Smart Cab have found jobs with other operators.
The National Taxi Association said most of them are now driving with Trans-Cab.
Smart's operator licence expires on September 30 and will not be renewed.
It is understood that many Smart taxi drivers had left the company even before the announcement was made about its failure to get its licence renewed.
In addition, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said Trans-Cab will be taking over all 268 taxis owned by Smart.
Kong Nay Foo is one of many Smart taxi drivers who has moved on to Trans-Cab.
He has been with Smart for eight years -- from the start until the end.
Kong said: "I really feel sad about it because the company treats us very well and it's a pity that the licence has not been renewed and... (it has) to close shop."
In July, LTA announced it would not renew Smart's taxi operator licence after it failed to meet standards on multiple occasions.
Smart also did not meet requirements such as a minimum fleet size.
Even though the transfer of Smart taxi drivers to other operators has been fairly smooth, there are still a few unresolved issues such as outstanding accident claims.
In addition, drivers now have to pay higher rental at their new companies -- for example, the daily rent at Trans-Cab is S$133 as compared to S$100 at Smart.
Ang Hin Kee, the National Taxi Association's executive adviser, said: "Drivers are concerned -- 'how do I make ends meet' -- because this is the first time they have to deal with a new cost issue.
"But at least, from what I've heard from them is that 'now I have a means to make a living and not to worry as to what will happen after the LTA announcement'.
"I think over time they will figure out how to make the numbers work as far as dealing with the higher rental."
To facilitate a smooth transition, LTA worked closely with Trans-Cab and Smart.
However, other stakeholders felt the authorities could have done more.
Ang Hin Kee said: "No doubt that the union will always want to come in to help the drivers should they face difficulties, but I thought -- looking back and talking to some of the drivers -- it could have been better handled if the authority had a better structure.
"On one hand you make this announcement, on the other you should set up maybe a hot desk, available phone numbers, officers on the ground, to assure the drivers that LTA will be assisting them with any issues they may have.
"We are happy to be a complementing partner in this scheme, but that's because the size of this fleet affected this time round is only 300-plus. Should the size be of a bigger player, I think resources will be very stretched.
"And I hope the authorities can take back the lessons learnt from this experience, and figure out how do I tackle issues that may impact the livelihood of our drivers."
With Smart reaching the end of the road, there will be six taxi companies left in Singapore.