Cabbies to be compensated for downtime due to ERP 2.0 OBU installation, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Cabbies to be compensated for downtime due to ERP 2.0 OBU installation

Cabbies will be compensated for the downtime they incur from the installation of new on-board units (OBUs) in their vehicles for the satellite-based Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system, Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said on Feb 7.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been engaging taxi operators and the National Taxi Association (NTA) on the OBU installation exercise, and all four taxi firms have agreed to compensate their drivers via rental rebates when they send their vehicles into the workshop for this, Dr Khor told Parliament.

Taxis are among the first vehicles scheduled to be fitted with the new OBUs. LTA had said the installation of the OBUs will be done in phases from November 2023, starting with about 20,000 fleet vehicles, which include public buses, fleet motorcycles and cabs.

In all, nearly one million vehicles will be fitted with the new OBUs in an exercise expected to conclude by the end of 2025.

All new vehicles will be fitted with the devices – comprising an antenna, a processing unit and a touchscreen display – from Q1 2024.

All other vehicles will have their existing in-vehicle units replaced in batches, based on the vehicle’s age.

Dr Khor was replying to a parliamentary question from Ms Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), who is the adviser to the NTA and National Private Hire Vehicles Association.

Ms Yeo also asked how long it takes to install the new OBU, how the Ministry of Transport will ensure wait times are minimised, and whether the ministry will work with rental firms to lower rent for private-hire car drivers when they send their vehicles in for the installation.

“For every hour of downtime, our taxi and private-hire drivers lose an hour of earnings,” Ms Yeo added, noting that there are more than 50,000 taxis and private-hire cars on the roads here.

In response, Dr Khor said some taxi operators plan to combine the installation of the OBUs with regular taxi maintenance and servicing schedules. Other operators are planning to recall taxis for the installation on days when workshops are free, which will minimise wait times for drivers.

Dr Khor said the time taken to install the new OBU will vary, depending on the vehicle type and make, and the workshop will give an estimate after drivers make an appointment. She did not provide a range or more specific details.

The next-generation ERP system, or ERP 2.0, will replace the current 25-year-old cordon-based system, which is reaching the end of its operational lifespan.

LTA had said the switchover to the satellite-based ERP system will be announced later, towards the end of the OBU installation exercise.