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Abandoned NTUC FairPrice trolleys a daily occurrence for Rivervale Crescent residents

Abandoned NTUC FairPrice trolleys a daily occurrence for Rivervale Crescent residents

Discarded trolleys found outside Block 164B Rivervale Crescent. (Photo: Cindy Co)

SINGAPORE: A line of about 20 abandoned NTUC FairPrice trolleys from July 2016 has been immortalised on Google street view, illustrating the scale of a problem that has plagued Sengkang's Rivervale Crescent neighbourhood for a long time. 

There is an NTUC FairPrice supermarket at Rivervale Mall, and abandoned trolleys in the area are a daily occurrence, said residents.

They can be seen on the grass patches along the street, below Housing Board blocks, along the corridors of certain floors and even outside flats, resident John Quek told CNA, adding that this has been a problem for more than five years. 

He recently took to Facebook to complain about the issue, posting on a group page called Complaint Singapore a photograph of a snaking line of trolleys on grass patches along the main road.

“Trolleys 1km away at Rivervale Crescent, from Rivervale Mall. Poor NTUC staff had to push them all the way back,” he wrote in his comment under a post on abandoned supermarket trolleys.

A screenshot of a picture of Block 182 Rivervale Crescent uploaded to Google Maps by Anton V.

Although Mr Quek has lived in Sengkang for nearly 25 years, he found that abandoned trolleys only became a problem in recent years as more people moved into the neighbourhood.

While he has written to NTUC FairPrice and reported the issue via the OneService app, he has not received any response from either of them, he said.

“I reported to NTUC and via OneService as I’m fed up I could (not) find a trolley for use during my visit to NTUC,” he said.

For people who discard their trolleys, it is probably “habitual”, said Mr Quek. “It only takes the first trolley to sacrifice S$1 deposit and the rest would just tag on to leave their trolley there and get back their S$1.”

When CNA visited Rivervale Crescent on Tuesday (Jan 19), there were several spots where trolleys had been dumped, with chains of up to 12 trolleys along the road.

Most of the trolleys were found in the area around Rivervale Mall, which is located about 10 minutes away from the blocks of flats by foot.

In response to CNA's queries, an NTUC FairPrice spokesperson said its employees have to retrieve about 20 abandoned trolleys from the area daily.

Two lines of abandoned NTUC Fairprice trolleys outside Block 182 Rivervale Crescent. (Photo: Cindy Co)

While some residents that CNA spoke to are not bothered by this, others felt that shoppers should be responsible and push the trolleys back to the supermarket.

There would be about four to five trolleys outside every day, said retiree Mr Chua, 67, who is a resident of Block 185. At night, he said he sees people bringing the trolleys back to their flats after they are done shopping.

On how he feels about the issue, he said: “Okay, not my business. (Does) not block the way. Block the way then complain.”

People who abandon the trolleys tend to be the elderly, said 58-year-old Mr Lee Ten Teck, who lives at Rivervale Crescent. “Because the old ladies need to walk quite long, so they need to push (the trolley) here.”

“If the NTUC guys never come here, you will see that (the trolleys will be) very long until they block the way,” he said.

While he does not mind if there are only a few trolleys outside, they might block the way of bicycles, motorcycles and people in wheelchairs if the line of trolleys gets too long, he said. Sometimes, people would leave a few trolleys at the void decks, and the cleaners would have to push them back out onto the grass patch.

A line of abandoned trolleys at Rivervale Crescent taken on Jan 5, 2021. (Photo: John Quek)

Resident Jacob Joseph said he does not mind people taking trolleys to their home, but felt that they should return them.

“The fact that they just leave it down there is quite irresponsible,” said the 24-year-old who works in the airline industry. “If you take it, bring it back.”

He added that residents did not even have to bring it back to the supermarket as there is a trolley berth right outside Rivervale Mall.

Cleaner Sng Swee Huat, 74, who sweeps the road on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, said that he usually sees FairPrice staff members pushing the trolleys back around mid-afternoon. A few people will usually gather all the trolleys in the area and push them back together.

NTUC FairPrice said the issue of abandoned trolleys is a perennial one - not just in Rivervale Crescent - despite ongoing efforts to educate customers.

"The industry-wide problem of unreturned and abandoned trolleys is a perennial issue that we are constantly trying to address. Last year alone, we received over 3,300 reports of unreturned and abandoned trolleys," said a spokesperson from Singapore's largest supermarket chain.

The spokesperson added that shopping trolleys are provided as a "value-added service" for customers' convenience, and urged all shoppers to be responsible and return their trolleys after use.

Members of the public who find abandoned trolleys can make a report through the Oneservice app, contact NTUC FairPrice's customer service hotline or send them an email, said the spokesperson.

"Public education and being socially responsible is key to addressing this issue and we hope that members of the public will continue to do their part and work with us towards creating a more gracious and caring society."

Source: CNA/cc(gs)
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