No more capacity curb on vehicles ferrying workers

A capacity curb on vehicles ferrying workers has been lifted.

The move to do away with the 25 per cent reduction in carrying capacity is in line with the beginning of Singapore's phase three of reopening, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

They had in late May announced the reduction in maximum passenger capacity as the country prepared to resume business at the end of the circuit breaker on June 2.

Other safe management measures will remain in place. MOM said workers should continue to wear a mask at all times in the vehicle, and they should not talk or interact while on board.

Employers must also continue to arrange private transportation for workers living in dormitories to commute to and from their workplaces.

These vehicles must not carry other passengers.

"These measures are necessary to prevent cross-infections between migrant workers living in dormitories and the community, in both directions," said MOM.

"If necessary, employers should make provisions for additional trips or vehicles."

The curb has had an impact on employers financially and operationally in the past few months.

"If you decrease the capacity of each vehicle by 25 per cent, then the number of vehicles you require for transportation must increase by at least 25 per cent as well, leading to higher financial costs as well as making operations more difficult as workers have to be transported separately," said Straits Construction chief operating officer Kenneth Loo.

While he welcomed the lifting of the curb, he said of phase three: "We cannot let our guard down and we need to be wary."

In April, 28 employers were fined $1,000 each for failing to ensure compliance with safe distancing measures when ferrying workers on their lorries.

In May, a video of a lorry with partitions to ensure safe distancing went viral online. The clip was part of a demonstration video sent as part of a proposal to MOM for consultation.

MOM and LTA subsequently said the set-up was unsafe and advised against its use. - THE STRAITS TIMES