MSF announces changes to transport schemes for disabled
More cab subsidies, car labels refined
With a take-home monthly pay of $1,200, Mr Lim Eng Whatt, 67, has barely enough after paying for transport and daily necessities.
The customer service agent, who became wheelchair-bound after a motorbike accident three years ago, takes a taxi from his Ang Mo Kio flat to his workplace in Toa Payoh and back six days a week, chalking up $1,800 in cab fares every three months.
About a fifth of it is subsidised under the Taxi Subsidy Scheme, which was introduced in 2014 for people with disabilities travelling to school or work.
To help those like Mr Lim save more on transport, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) yesterday announced enhancements to the scheme. From Aug 1, the monthly per capita income cap will be raised from $1,800 to $2,600, allowing more people with disabilities to get taxi subsidies.
The level of subsidy support will also increase. Those getting 50 per cent in subsidies, for instance, will receive 80 per cent.
The scheme will also be extended to those attending employment-related training supported by disability services and support organisation SG Enable.
To provide more transport options to meet the needs of people with disabilities, the subsidies will also cover third-party private hire cars under third-party private hire car booking service providers.
Mr Lim's out-of-pocket transport costs will go down by half once the new subsidies kick in.
MSF is also refining the Car Park Label Scheme.
The blue label under the scheme allows disabled drivers to park in accessible lots, while the orange label allows caregivers of the physically disabled to park in the lots for an hour.
The revised scheme is part of the Government's efforts to meet the increasing demand for accessible parking lots - about 6,000 across car parks managed by the government.
The number of blue and orange label-holders have gone up by 30 per cent over the last few years.
As such, those using crutches and quad-sticks will no longer be eligible for the labels from Nov 1.
To prevent indiscriminate use of the lots, the carpark labels are now bigger, with key information made more prominent for ease of enforcement. They also have a tamper-proof hologram.
The new labels will be issued from the middle of next month for new applicants and existing label holders. They will need to display the new labels from November.
There will be a grace period until the end of the year, before strict enforcement kicks in from January next year.
Vehicles without a valid car park label and orange label holders who park for more than an hour in an accessible lot will be fined $200.
Repeat offenders may face heavier fines of up to $400, or have the vehicle towed away.