28 January 2010

NO CBS charges from ION Orchard

For your information who knows that someday you are taking taxi from ION Orchard Singapore ... make sure that no extra surcharge :)

read below from more info:
    Overcharged for cab rides from Ion

    By JAMIE EE WEN WEI (straits times)

    Taking a cab from Ion Orchard?

    Beware, you could literally be taken for a ride. You might be asked to pay a CBD surcharge which the cabbie is actually not entitled to claim.

    The fact is that Ion Orchard lies outside the Central Business District.

    Human resource executive Ashley Chiam, 24, almost got cheated a month ago when she took a taxi from Ion. She noted that the $3 surcharge was indicated on the meter.

    But other cabbies had told her previously that Ion was outside the CBD. She got into an argument with the driver, then called the taxi firm, which said she did not have to pay.

    'I wonder how many people he has cheated. But the thing is, when I told my friends about it, many of them had no idea too that Ion is not within the CBD,' she said.

    The CBD is demarcated by Electronic Road Pricing gantries in the Orchard, Bras Basah, Bugis, Chinatown and Shenton Way areas.

    A $3 city area surcharge is payable on all taxi trips from the CBD between 5pm and midnight, from Mondays to Saturdays, excluding public holidays.

    Some taxi companies and drivers whom The Sunday Times spoke to agree that Ion is a contentious spot.

    With its taxi stand just metres away from an ERP gantry, some drivers - and passengers - mistake Ion as within the CBD.

    The stand at neighbouring mall Wisma Atria, which is located after the ERP gantry, is within the CBD. Taxis are often seen queuing up for customers outside Wisma Atria whereas fewer cabs are spotted at the Ion taxi stand.

    Last year, 11 cabbies were fined for collecting the surcharge outside the CBD, said a Land Transport Authority spokesman. The offences were committed in places like Orchard Towers, Scotts Road and Mohamed Sultan.

    Marriott Hotel has also been highlighted as a potentially confusing spot. Cabbie Nah Tua Bah, 70, said: 'The driveway is actually outside the CBD but because the hotel's in Orchard, drivers get confused.'

    Taxi companies said instances of customers being wrongfully charged are rare.

    'It's usually the new or part-time drivers who will get it wrong. Some of them see the ERP gantry and they assume they are in the CBD,' said Mr Foo Chi Yong, president of the Premier Taxi Operators' Association.

    Ms Tammy Tan, ComfortDelgro's group corporate communications officer, said its drivers are aware of the boundaries. The company does not get many complaints.

    An SMRT spokesman said it had only two complaints in the past three months and the passengers were reimbursed.

    Taxi drivers who flout the rules on CBD surcharges can be fined up to $500, docked 12 demerit points and get an immediate four-week suspension of their vocational licence.

    Ms Chiam thinks signs could be put up at Ion to state that it lies outside the CBD. A spokesman for the mall saidthat Ion had worked with all taxi companies to let drivers know of Ion's location outside the CBD.

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