Over 200 reported cases of abuse against taxi and private-hire drivers in 2023, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Over 200 reported cases of abuse against taxi and private-hire drivers in 2023

Cabbies and private-hire drivers have joined the ranks of abused transport workers, with more than 200 cases reported in 2023.

This is significantly higher than the 27 reports of passengers abusing bus drivers seen in 2022 – the last time official figures were released for bus drivers.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling on Feb 19 said the Government was concerned, adding that some of the cases might have arisen from misunderstandings between taxi and private-hire drivers and their passengers.

“I think we can work with drivers, and passengers as well, on how we can treat each other with respect, and how to resolve misunderstandings and disputes amicably,” she added.

Ms Sun was speaking at the launch of the Point-To-Point Transport Industry Safety and Security Watch Group (iSSWG), an initiative to provide taxi and private-hire drivers with skills to handle disputes, and enable them to learn more about road safety and crime prevention from the police.

The watch group is the ninth such tie-up in Singapore, following police collaboration with various sectors, including the retail, public entertainment and financial industries, to fight crime and terrorism.

Official figures show that there were 13,622 taxis in November 2023 and 76,686 private-hire cars in June 2023, with the National Taxi Association (NTA) representing cabbies, and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) representing private-hire drivers.

Mr Joseph Goh, general secretary of the NPHVA, said he knew of a fellow driver who was beaten up by a drunk passenger. The driver did not retaliate and called the police.

Mr Goh said private-hire drivers are not equipped to handle such situations, but added: “I would actually encourage drivers in any incident to keep themselves calm. Don’t be hot-headed.

“The police force is more professional in handling things like terrorism and crime. Maybe the knowledge they impart to us will help us to improve and handle situations better.”

There has been a spate of abuse cases reported in other industries, prompting a slew of measures to stem the tide.

In 2021, the law was amended to introduce heavier penalties for abusing security guards on duty, after a rash of incidents that saw an average of about 150 cases reported each year from 2018 to 2021.

policeSINGAPORE TRANSPORTMinistry of Home Affairs