SINGAPORE: The National Taxi Association (NTA) hopes taxi operators can provide a more diverse range of hiring models for their drivers to choose from.
Speaking at the launch of a partnership between Grab and HDT Singapore Taxi on Friday (Feb 24), NTA chief Ang Hin Kee said drivers should be able to pick an employment model that best serves their needs, and operators should offer more options.
“Why is it so important? Because taxi drivers will see their own needs, from their own perspective," said Mr Ang. He added that some drivers would prefer the protection and benefits offered by full-time employment at the expense of flexibility with their work, while others prefer an arrangement that may not be so rigid.
HDT provides a different model from incumbent players in the industry - offering its drivers full-time employment terms and benefits. This includes annual leave and CPF contributions, as well as a stable income starting around S$1,600 per month that can go up to S$3,200 if they meet set targets of earning S$7,500 on the road. The company also offers overtime pay.
Mr Ang said taxi operators will need to find a sweet spot on what drivers prefer, and the NTA is currently gathering views from drivers on various models.
“Some drivers that we spoke to have come back and said that they are assessing the demand and the standards set by this particular model - whether is it too high to reach, whether the terms of employment are adequate, and whether or not their income level will be able to (be) sustained," said Mr Ang.
"I guess similarly, taxi operators are also watching this space and seeing whether this is a business model that they may want to roll out in due course."
HDT started operations last year and currently counts 50 cars in its all electric-taxi fleet. It plans to grow this number to 100 by June under the terms of its Taxi Service Operator’s Licence (TSOL) from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), under an e-taxi trial co-led by the Economic Development Board examining the viability of electric transportation in Singapore.
The company hopes the trial will yield positive results, allowing the company to apply for a full TSOL that will allow it to operate a fleet of more than 800 taxis.
Friday's partnership with Grab allows customers to pick a specific electric taxi option in the Grab app to call for one of HDT's taxis.