Sunday 26 August 2012

SMRT Taxis gets S$3.1m grant to operate wheelchair-accessible taxis

Channel NewsAsia, 23 Aug 2012

Public transport operator SMRT has been awarded S$3.1 million to operate 30 wheelchair accessible taxis for the disabled and elderly.

The Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry said the grant is to help SMRT defray the costs involved.

The first batch of 15 taxis will go on the road by March next year, before the phasing out of the existing London Cabs.

Commuters can also expect greater convenience.

With the new fleet, bookings can be made at least two days in advance, instead of three days, when using London Cabs.

SMRT said it is pleased to receive the grant.

The company said for more than 10 years, it has been providing London cabs to help wheelchair-bound passengers commute more easily.

But factors such as a low demand, rising fuel and maintenance costs have threatened the sustainability of the fleet.

SMRT said the grant, which works out to around S$100,000 per taxi, will be a much-needed lifeline to absorb some of the costs involved, such as the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and Additional Registration Fee (ARF), in purchasing the new vehicles.

James Ng, vice president, SMRT Automotive Services & Taxis, said: "Besides ensuring we operate and maintain an efficient and reliable service, we are also paying for the other costs... of establishing this fleet.

"Our commitment also includes the Gift of Mobility, a S$350,000 programme to support the transport needs of those with disabilities or who are less mobile."

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