Taxi drivers will now have to issue printed receipts for all street-hail and phone booking trips or risk a $50 fine.
Receipt printing compulsory for street-hail taxi rides The Land Transport Authority rule, which kicked in last Thursday, aims to facilitate contact tracing efforts. PHOTO: ST FILE

Taxi drivers will now have to issue printed receipts for all street-hail and phone booking trips or risk a $50 fine, regardless of whether the passenger asks for them.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) rule kicked in on 11 June 2020 and is aimed at facilitating contact tracing efforts. Passengers are "strongly encouraged" by LTA to keep the receipts for at least 14 days.

But the rule has raised eyebrows amongst stakeholders and drivers, who have urged the authority to reconsider the rule's effectiveness.

Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Ang Hin Kee, who is the Executive Adviser to the National Taxi Association, said he also hopes LTA will not make it a punitive measure. "Nowadays taxi drivers can earn $50 only if it is a good day (with the COVID-19 situation). A $50 fine will wipe out their entire day's earnings."

In messages to drivers seen by The Straits Times, the various taxi operators told drivers this week that those who fail to issue receipts to passengers "will be liable to a composition fine of $50". LTA told The Straits Times that the rule complements the installation of SafeEntry QR codes in taxis, especially for passengers who are unable to scan the codes. Passengers who book taxis via mobile applications will be continue to receive electronic receipts. Therefore, drivers do not have to print receipts for these passengers.

On how the authority will enforce the rule, an LTA spokesman said: "If there is feedback on drivers who do not comply, LTA will investigate based on the circumstances of each case." She added that LTA has worked with taxi operators to instruct drivers to issue receipts since April.

Mr. William Lim, the Administrator of the Singapore Taxi Driver Facebook group, said while he understands that LTA is trying to improve contact tracing efforts, he doubts issuing receipts will be an effective measure.

He said: "It is very impractical with all taxis now having the SafeEntry QR code. People who are going to malls and supermarkets are using the same codes, so why do we have to go back to the basics and use receipts? "If you are a commuter, you will also likely throw away a receipt after getting it, so that doesn't serve the intended purpose."

Mr. Ang said the National Taxi Association has shared its reservations and concerns with LTA. "I know they are trying to enhance contact tracing for people without handphones, but during this period I don't know who will go out without their phones... for senior citizens with no phones, they should be mostly staying at home during these times."

He said there should not be a need for receipts for those who already have a mobile phone and can do the SafeEntry check-in.

Instead efforts should be focused on getting people to check in via the SafeEntry digital check-in system, added Mr. Ang. If receipts must be issued, he said the responsibility should not be on drivers alone, adding that notices can be placed in taxis to remind passengers to ask for receipts.