Wah lau eh…I am like between wtf and knnbccb. You mean for the sake of profits, taxi companies like Comfort Delgro (SLF, an affiliate of NTUC has more than 10% share) and SMRT (majority shareholder is Temasek) can scrimp on airbags (read here).
For the relatively older taxi models like Toyota Crown and Nissan Cedric airbags were not so common (ok I buay song but fair enough), but surely airbags for the newer models of Hyundai Sonatas we see on the roads today should be assumed and even compulsory.
Taxi drivers spend so much time on the roads and they fetch countless number of passengers everyday, hence for the safety of all airbags should be compulsory as they can save lives. For crying out loud, taxi companies want to save $$$ might as well remove the seat belts and make the car out of canned sardines!!! (Only because the law doesn’t allow them to.)
Are the taxi companies saying that safety is not as important as profits? Are the taxi companies saying that they can pay $60K for a COE but cannot afford to install airbags? It gives me the feeling that those who drive taxis and those who take taxis don’t deserve the protection of an airbag like those who can afford to buy their own private cars. Like I said before, is being rich also being right in this country?
One would think that the union for taxi drivers would stand up for their work safety as a first and foremost mission. No matter how much we pay for taxi fares, if dead and died already also cannot earn $$$ right. But the National Taxi Association under the NTUC and the shining beacon of tripartite is either sleeping on the job or too close to taxi companies such that they cannot fully articulate the concerns of taxi drivers. No surprise that the ‘advisors’ to NTA are always PAP MPs like Seng Han Thong, Ang Hin Kee, Wee Siew Khim etc.
Even Gerard Ee says it better:
Mr Ee said: “Taxi operators should show concern for their drivers by ensuring the taxis they rent out have airbags – they can arrange to install airbags on those which do not have them by arranging for fitting to be done on (taxi drivers’) day-off and to schedule it to minimise downtime.”
In fact reading the TODAY article makes me heart ache:
Taxi drivers whose vehicles are not equipped with airbags told Today that they are concerned about bearing the cost of installing the safety feature. Mr Tan H K, 56, said: “I would also have to send my cab in and that means loss of earnings.” But Mr Patrick Aw, 54, said: “It is something I am okay living without. If it is your time to go, not even airbags can save you.”
Uncle Patrick Aw, I respect your stoic outlook but no matter whether it’s your time or not your time to punch hole in NRIC, the taxi union has a responsibility to protect the safety of taxi drivers, otherwise better call them taxi companies union.