Organisers of contests for private-hire and taxi drivers must be ‘more responsible’, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Organisers of contests for private-hire and taxi drivers must be ‘more responsible’

Those planning campaigns and promotions for drivers of private-hire vehicles (PHV) and taxis should be “more responsible and considerate of (drivers’) health and wellness” when setting up the parameters of such contests.

In a statement on Nov 27, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, adviser to the National Taxi Association (NTA) and National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA), said this is important especially as the festive season approaches.

“With the upcoming festive season where ridership is expected to increase, (NTA and NPHVA) would like to remind drivers to look after themselves, take sufficient breaks and pace themselves in their driving hours,” she said.

Ms Yeo, a Member of Parliament, made the comments in response to queries from The Straits Times about the online backlash that followed the revelation that a private-hire vehicle (PHV) driver had driven 22 hours in a day to win a privately-organised Facebook driving contest.

Netizens pointed out how spending so many hours behind the wheel would put the driver at risk of fatigue, which could endanger passengers and other road users.

The contest organiser, Mr Shawn Lee, a PHV driver himself, told ST that his intention was to lift the spirts of the local PHV driver community, which he said had been grappling with rising costs and reduced incomes. He acknowledged that he should have set a cap on the number of hours for participants in his initiative.

Ms Yeo said that on the issue of long hours on the road for drivers of PHVs and taxis, there is a need to consider both working and livelihood considerations, as their working hours directly affect their incomes, given the “flexible nature of their work”.

“It is crucial to strike a balance between earning an income and keeping a good health, so that drivers can ensure their own safety and lives and that of the passengers,” she added.