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TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Taxi restrictions relaxed in Central Business District

Beginning March 1 taxis can pick-up and drop-off passengers anywhere along bus lanes as early as 8pm.

Taxi riders also get a half-hour breathing room in the morning, with taxis being permitted to load and drop outside the designated rush hour zones until 7:30am.

This effectively shortens the non-compliance penalty window by 2.5 hours to between 7:30am and 8pm from between 7am to 10pm.

Fines for non-compliance though have been raised to $130 from $100.

"The shorter hours will allow taxi drivers to pick-up and drop-off passengers along roads where public buses ply, and for passengers to hail a taxi along these roads earlier," said the Land Transport Authority in a release.

"These adjustments were made in consultation with taxi companies and taxi driver associations, who expressed support for the changes and agreed that it strikes a balance between minimising safety risks and addressing the operational concerns of taxi drivers when driving in the CBD," it said.

"The taxi Vocational License Points System (VLPS) for non-compliance with the CBD taxi rule will also be revised. From 1 March 2012, the existing 3 demerit point penalty for breach of the CBD taxi rule will be removed and the fine increased from $100 to $130, to also bring it in line with the full-day bus lane penalty," it added.

"We have reviewed the operational hours and traffic situation following feedback from the National Taxi Association (NTA) and taxi companies. Our key consideration for the CBD rule is safety. As traffic in the CBD is lighter after 8pm, we have relaxed the CBD taxi rule to align with the full-day bus lane operational hours. This balances safety concerns while providing taxi drivers and passengers with more convenience," said Mr Colin Lim, LTA's Group Director of Vehicle and Transit Licensing.

"We are glad that LTA has listened and considered NTA's feedback carefully in their decision-making on the easing of CBD rules. This refinement and shortening of hours on the pick-up and drop-off of passengers inside the CBD area would benefit not just our drivers, but also the passengers. It would make it easier and more convenient for passengers to hail a cab and alight near their destination. At the same time, we are pleased that LTA has decided to withdraw the demerit points accorded to drivers who breach the rules," said President, National Taxi Association Mr Wee Boon Kim.

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