Sunday 15 April 2012

Age limit for taxi drivers raised to 75 from 1 June 2012

By Wayne Chan, Channel NewsAsia, 13 Apr 2012

The Land Transport Authority will raise the age limit for taxi drivers from 73 to 75 years old this June. This follows a review of the current age limit following feedback from the National Taxi Association and taxi drivers.

With the raised age limit, taxi drivers who intend to extend their vocational licences after the age of 73 will be required to pass a detailed assessment annually, or at shorter intervals as deemed necessary by the doctor.

Sixty-nine-year-old Ramdan Sulaiman is one of those who will benefit from the move.

"My children are married already. I'm with my wife. If I stay at home, there's nothing to do and I'm not able to keep my mind active," he said.

Minister of State for Transport, Josephine Teo, said 1,000 taxi drivers aged between 70 and 72 will be the first to benefit from the new policy.

"In deciding whether to raise the age limit further, one important consideration is safety. Not just for the passengers and other road users, but for drivers themselves. So what we find here today is that there is a system in place for testing the fitness of the taxi drivers, because physical fitness as well as mental fitness is important to their ability to continue driving safely on the roads," said Mrs Teo.

Taxi passengers Channel NewsAsia spoke to had mixed reactions regarding the move.

"I think the age limit should be 73 (years old), because sometimes their eyesight might deteriorate," said one passenger.

"It's really great that people are willing to work at such an old age. It shows Singaporeans' humility and a desire to provide for their families and themselves," said another.

LTA will send letters to Taxi Driver's Vocational Licence (TDVL) holders who are approaching or recently turned 73 years old, to inform them of the raised age limit and the detailed assessment requirement should they wish to renew their vocational licences upon reaching 73 years of age.

The National Taxi Association's (NTA) president, Wee Boon Kim said the association is pleased to note that the Ministry of Transport has agreed to raise the age limit for taxi drivers from 73 to 75 years old, subject to yearly medical check-ups.

He said the association has been championing this cause in the past two years as it believes that drivers should be allowed to drive and contribute to the society as long as they are physically fit.

Mr Wee added that many of the association's senior members are still fit and healthy beyond the age of 73 and have expressed their wish to continue driving as they enjoy the work and have been providing taxi service for many years.

Mr Wee believes this change would benefit those drivers who are willing and able to continue driving and help them to remain active and contribute to society.

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