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Homenews"What choice do I have?" — Migrant worker says about commuting on...

"What choice do I have?" — Migrant worker says about commuting on illegal lorry transportation – Singapore News

“What choice do I have? I’m already tired, and I don’t want to walk in the dark for 4.5km to get to my dorm,” he explained his predicament

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SINGAPORE: Migrant workers in the Kranji area are resorting to illegal lorry transportation for an affordable commute from Kranji MRT station to their dormitories due to limited bus services. While SMRT bus services 925 and 925M operate on this route, their schedules do not cater to the needs of these workers, particularly on Sundays and public holidays, as reported by The Straits Times.

The situation becomes especially dire on Sundays as SMRT bus service 925 does not run, and 925M terminates its service at 7.40pm. This leaves many workers with no viable public transportation option during the late hours of Sundays. Consequently, they are compelled to rely on lorry drivers who offer them a one-way ride to their dormitories for a fee of $2.

Migrant worker Gunasegran, who resides in the Westlite Kranji Way dormitory, explained his predicament, stating, “What choice do I have? I’m already tired, and I don’t want to walk in the dark for 4.5km to get to my dorm.

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Another resident of the same dormitory, Mr Sivakumar, revealed that taking a taxi at night from the station could cost as much as $10, making the affordable lorry service the more attractive option. These lorries are capable of carrying up to 12 people each, and some larger ones can seat up to 22 passengers.

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LTA responds to illegal lorry transportation

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) acknowledged the situation but highlighted the challenge of balancing the needs of various commuters. A spokesperson for LTA stated, “When planning bus services, LTA balances serving as many commuters as possible with factors such as ridership and financial prudency.” They added that the authority would continue to monitor travel patterns and make adjustments to bus service provision when viable.

Despite the risks and illegal nature of these lorry rides, checks conducted between July and September found an average of 10 lorries lined up outside Kranji MRT station, providing rides to migrant workers returning to their dorms on Sunday evenings. The lorry service starts only after 8 pm on Sundays and continues until about 11 pm.

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Some lorry drivers initially denied offering transportation services but were later observed collecting money from passengers. This practice violates regulations, as it is an offence to use a goods vehicle to transport workers not employed by the owner or hirer of the vehicle. A first-time offender can face fines up to $1,000 or a jail term of up to three months, or both.

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Transport operator’s perspective

Singapore Maxicab, a transport operator, noted that employers sometimes engage transportation companies to ferry workers from distant dormitories because purpose-built dorms are located in secluded areas. These dormitories have the capacity to accommodate around 256,000 workers.

Singapore Maxicab charges between $2,000 and $2,200 per month for a 13-seater minibus service, including pick-ups on workers’ days off. However, most employers opt for transportation only on workdays.

Mr Bernard Tay, Chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council, emphasized the responsibility of employers for their workers’ welfare, not only on workdays but also on their days off. The Migrant Worker’s Centre (MWC) echoed these concerns, emphasizing the need for a safer and more suitable transportation solution.

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Mr Aman Aljunied, a former Singapore Safety Driving Centre instructor, raised the issue of safety hazards caused by these lorries, including illegal parking and congestion near the Kranji MRT station. He pointed out that the lorries pose a danger to migrant workers who have to navigate between moving buses to reach them.

.u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076 { padding:0px; margin: 0; padding-top:1em!important; padding-bottom:1em!important; width:100%; display: block; font-weight:bold; background-color:#eaeaea; border:0!important; border-left:4px solid #2980B9!important; text-decoration:none; } .u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076:active, .u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076:hover { opacity: 1; transition: opacity 250ms; webkit-transition: opacity 250ms; text-decoration:none; } .u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076 { transition: background-color 250ms; webkit-transition: background-color 250ms; opacity: 1; transition: opacity 250ms; webkit-transition: opacity 250ms; } .u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076 .ctaText { font-weight:bold; color:#464646; text-decoration:none; font-size: 16px; } .u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076 .postTitle { color:#000000; text-decoration: underline!important; font-size: 16px; } .u727e8fb756f185fe89977ea2ccf1a076:hover .postTitle { text-decoration: underline!important; } See also 4-year-old boy uses his own birthday money to give away 100 care packs to migrant workers

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) assured the public that they will continue monitoring and enforcing parking regulations in the vicinity of Kranji MRT station to prevent illegal parking. They also mentioned the use of CCTV cameras and stepped-up enforcement to deter such infractions.

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