Thursday 27 March 2014

Changi Airport to build two-storey taxi deck

By Olivia Siong, Channel NewsAsia, 25 Mar 2014

Changi Airport will build a new holding area for taxi drivers to queue as they wait to pick up passengers from Terminal 1.

This will make it safer and more comfortable for them.

The S$50 million two-storey deck is set to be completed in the second half of 2015.

It is common to see taxis lining up along Airport Boulevard to pick up passengers from Terminal 1, especially during peak hours or in the wee hours of the morning between 11pm and 1am.

At times, the tailback can reach about one kilometre. This happens when the existing taxi holding area at Terminal 1 runs out of space.

Terminal 1 has the smallest waiting area among all the terminals.

Jaya Mohamed, taxi driver for more than 15 years, said: "Car drivers, they won't know which… queue leads towards the Departure Hall, or towards the Arrival Hall, or even towards the taxi queue. There've been quite a lot of accidents..."

Taxis currently head directly to Terminal 1 or queue along Airport Boulevard to pick up passengers.

With the new deck, those picking up passengers at Terminal 1 will be channelled to the new waiting area away from the main road and other vehicles.

The new deck will be built above Terminal 3’s taxi holding area. A new ramp and road dedicated for the taxis will also be constructed to lead them directly to Terminal 1.

The new waiting area can hold 300 taxis -- three times that of the existing Terminal 1 holding area.

Terminal 2's holding area accommodates 190 taxis while the one at Terminal 3 can take up to 250 taxis.

Ng Chew Song, senior vice president for projects and contracts at Changi Airport Group, said: "This is our ongoing process of investing in our infrastructure to improve our facilities at Changi Airport. At the same time, (we are) looking into the safety, comfort and efficiency of our airport operations."

Mr Ng added the inconvenience to other motorists during construction will be minimal.

He elaborated: "The work is at the Terminal 3 (T3) carpark area, so the disruption to the motorists coming to the airport is practically minimised. It's more at the T3 taxi queueing area, but we're actually mitigating it by having double queueing or triple queueing, so that we actually maximise the queueing area at the space."

There will also be amenities like toilets and a canteen at the new waiting area.

Lee Joon Wan, who has been a taxi driver for 16 years, said: "Usually after driving two, three hours, they (taxi drivers) need a few minutes to relax a bit."

Patrick Teo, who has been driving a taxi for 18 years, said: "It's a good thing; rather than (parking) at the road side, (drivers) can stand (at the waiting area and) chit chat with all the members. It's a good thing.”

But some are concerned about the distance between the new taxi deck and Terminal 1.

Taxi driver Jaya Mohamed said: "If (the queue is) to serve (passengers at) T3, I think it's okay. But if it's… to serve (passengers at) Terminal 1 -- what about the distance (between the two terminals)?"

Changi Airport Group said the new system will allow it to better track the taxi count. Such data is made available on electronic boards and on a mobile app for taxi drivers.

It is also expected to address the heavier traffic in future.

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