SINGAPORE - The sight of a tailback of cabs queuing along Airport Boulevard, sometimes stretching as long as a kilometre, may be a thing of the past with the construction of a double-storey taxi deck at Changi Airport.
When completed in the second half of next year, the upper deck of this structure will be a new holding area for taxi drivers queuing to pick up passengers at Terminal 1 (T1), relocating them away from the main traffic flow.
It can hold around 300 cabs, which is triple T1's current taxi holding capacity. Comparatively, Terminal 2 can accommodate 190 waiting taxis, while Terminal 3's (T3's) capacity is 250.
Changi Airport Group (CAG) said yesterday that this will "allow more taxis to queue within a safer environment, away from heavy traffic movements, minimising the risk of accidents and inconvenience" to the motoring public.
The new open-air deck will be above the existing T3 taxi holding area, and will feature a ramp to connect taxis to T1. Toilets will be built on the deck for cabbies, and they will also be able to access a nearby canteen at T3.
The taxi deck will cost $50 million to construct, and is also expected to serve the upcoming Project Jewel, a complex with retail outlets and airport services, which will be completed in 2018.
It will also enable more accurate tracking of the taxi count, and allow taxi drivers to better gauge the demand at various terminals through data displayed on information boards along Airport Boulevard and through a mobile app.
Mr Ng Chew Song, CAG's senior vice-president of projects and contracts, said the current tailback, which occurs during the wee hours of the morning, takes up one lane of Airport Boulevard, which is "not ideal" for traffic movement.
CAG assistant vice-president of corporate and marketing communications Robin Goh said: "With Terminal 4 and Project Jewel coming up, there will be increased activity... we will have more taxi drivers with the increased demand."
National Taxi Association vice-president Harry Ng said accidents, while rare, can occur because motorists who are not aware of such a long queue on the main road can hit the back of the taxis.
Cabby David Tang, 47, who goes to T1 two to three times daily to pick up passengers, is looking forward to the holding area.
However, he had one small request. "Try to plant some trees on the second deck. The weather is hot from 1pm to 2pm," he said.
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