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Changi Airport's $50-million 'taxi stand'

A new double-storey taxi deck will be built at Changi Airport by the second half of next year. This will ease traffic flow along Airport Boulevard, especially during peak hours, where taxi queues of up to 1km have been observed
The Straits Times - March 26, 2014
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Changi Airport's $50-million 'taxi stand'

A $50 MILLION taxi holding area is being built at Changi Airport in an effort to combat peak-time cab queues, which can stretch up to a kilometre in length.


Changi Airport Group (CAG) announced the development yesterday, which it hopes will improve traffic flow and overall road safety at the airport.


Currently the left lane of Airport Boulevard, the main thoroughfare to the airport, can get crowded when the supply of cabs far outstrips demand - typically during busy periods such as from 4.30pm to 6.30pm and 11pm to 1am.


The tailback is caused by cabs queuing to pick up passengers at Terminal 1.

Work began earlier this month to construct a second-storey deck above the existing taxi queue area for Terminal 3. It is expected to be finished by May next year.


Cabbies in the T1 taxi queue will be able to wait there in between dropping off and picking up passengers. There will also be toilet facilities for them and access to a nearby canteen.

As part of the project, a new road will be built to separate the T1 taxi queue from traffic on Airport Boulevard.


CAG senior manager for arrival experience Damian Tan said the small capacity of the existing T1 taxi holding area - around 100 cabs - is another reason for the current long queues. By comparison, Terminal 2 has spaces for 190 cabs and T3 has enough for 250.


The new holding area will triple the T1 taxi queue capacity to about 300 taxis. It will serve T1 and Project Jewel - a $1.47 billion mixed-use complex to be built on the carpark in front of T1 which is due to be completed in 2018.


CAG spokesman Robin Goh said the increased capacity will allow more taxis to queue within a safer environment away from heavy traffic, minimising the risk of accidents and inconvenience to other motorists.


Mr Ng Chew Song, CAG senior vice-president for projects and contracts, noted that traffic to the airport is expected to grow due to upcoming developments.


He said: "Taxis now take up one lane of the road, which is not very ideal for traffic movement."

Mr Goh said the new taxi deck will also improve efficiency, as the revised queuing flow will enable CAG to more accurately track the number of taxis in line.


This data is made available on electronic boards along Airport Boulevard and on the Cabs@Changi mobile app and will allow cabbies to better gauge the demand for and supply of taxis at various terminals.


CAG has previously taken measures to tackle the taxi problem, such as by implementing a queuing system to increase capacity. However, the new deck will provide a "longer term solution", said Mr Goh.


The National Taxi Association (NTA), which has almost 17,000 members, welcomed the new holding area.


NTA committee member Harry Ng, 56, a taxi driver, said it will make it safer for drivers who are queuing: "It can be quite dangerous when cars turn the bend near T1, they can hit the back of the taxis. Accidents are rare, but they do happen."


Cabby David Tang, 47, picks up passengers at T1 every day. He hopes trees will be planted on the upper deck to provide drivers with some shade.


NTA adviser and MP Ang Hin Kee said the Cabs@Changi app will help cabbies decide whether to queue at the airport, adding:"It reduces any unnecessary queuing at the airport. But when drivers arrive, it is more conducive if there is a safer place for them to park their vehicles."

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