Singapore's two cruise centres hope to enhance the visitor experience by reducing taxi shortages and waiting time at immigration counters.
Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS) aims to lure 400 cabbies to its grounds on Oct 22 and Oct 30 with meal packs and a hundred $10 FairPrice vouchers in a "familiarisation exercise".
It is moving its taxi stand from the arrival hall lobby to the edge of its coach bay to create more space for queueing and improve visibility from the road. From Oct 22, cabbies will also be able to download a mobile phone app for real-time information on ship arrivals.
"There is definitely a taxi shortage. Ship arrivals are seasonal and drivers don't know when one arrives," said Mr Melvin Vu, chief executive officer of Sats-Creuers Cruise Services, which operates MBCCS.
He said that the firm is working with immigration authorities to provide them with ship schedules so that they can deploy more officers if needed.
Six immigration counters were added at MBCCS last year, bringing the total number to 24. It takes up to 45 minutes for a visitor to clear immigration and 20 minutes on average to wait for a taxi. MBCCS hopes to shorten the taxi wait to 10 minutes.
Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC) at HarbourFront started stationing porters at its cab stands early this year to help passengers with their luggage in a move to ease taxi queue congestion. It is also updating immigration authorities more regularly on ship arrival times, said SCC chief executive Christina Siaw, who said that 90 per cent of cruise passengers wait 10 minutes for a cab.