Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

NTA Just Cares For Themselves

The National Taxi Association (NTA) is an association that represents taxi drivers. If there is some threat to taxi drivers, of course, it’s the NTA’s job to protect them. Let’s just forgive their executive adviser Ang Hin Kee. The remarks he makes about Grab and Uber, it’s just what he has to do. We’ve heard him, so now lets move on.

Taxi stand

Let’s hope our Land Transport Authority (LTA) have clever people who can think rationally. I know, perhaps some of us doubt that is the case, and honestly, sometimes I wonder about that myself. But let’s just hope they are. Of course the NTA wants to protect taxi drivers. LTA should know that. We’ve heard their arguments, however illogical they are. That’s only just their side of it.

It’s quite plain and obvious that commuters are really happy with Grab and Uber. They came into the market to meet a demand. They filled a gap that commuters needed.

Perhaps Grab and Uber should band together, along with other similar private hire car ride companies, to form a similar national association, but one for private hire car drivers. They can lobby for the LTA to be more supportive of competition in this market. They should also remember to engage an executive advisor with some political weight, preferably one that is more than merely a Member of Parliament.

There are already some enlightened taxi drivers who have switched camp. If taxi driving is so bad, taxi drivers always have that option to jump ship and go wherever they think is more lucrative.

The problem is that some of them are too complacent in their job. They have taxi companies to fend for them. When taxi companies can’t, won’t or don’t help them, they have a national association to back them up.

Imagine if, all of us working adults, in whichever industry we work in, have some sort of national association to make sure that nothing ever changes in our industry. For example, some people would love for it that foreign talent could not be brought in to compete with them for jobs. At the industry level, I’m sure telcos would love for it that WhatsApp could be forbidden. Or that Internet TV be censored. In fact, had there been no Internet, so many industries would be much happier.

But we don’t stagnate. We need to continually evolve.

The NTA has two choices. The same that taxi companies have.

  1. Help make taxis better so that commuters will prefer riding them.
  2. Make commuters ride taxis, by disadvantaging other options.

It seems they prefer the second.

In case NTA’s Mr Ang is unaware, there are also car-pooling apps. Grab is already into it. Will Mr Ang also go after car pooling next?

Alas, one needs to remember. NTA is an association that represents taxi drivers. Of course, they want to protect taxi drivers. They aren’t interested about other people.

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