Ang Hin Kee of the labour movement had the same question. In Parliament yesterday, he asked the transport minister about these drivers and their welfare.
So it turns out that 2.5% (or 1374) of active taxi drivers are female. These are their profiles:
A large number of them are in their 50s, as you can see in the table.
Most of them are concerned with issues such as personal safety and prefer not to drive to remote areas at night or ferry drunk passengers. For this reason, taxi companies have installed “panic buttons” in taxis for the benefit of all drivers.
These numbers do not include the new category of “Private Hire Vehicles”. These are drivers of the Users and the Grab Taxis. Until quite recently, state administrators do not have data on who is participating in this new form of labour.
The lack of transparency sparked safety and quality concerns for both passengers and drivers.
Recently, drivers of Private Hire Vehicles are required to be licensed with the LTA. This will help the administrators to understand who the drivers are and to carry out enforcements against criminal activity and quality control.
For female drivers, this would come as an encouragement to them.
This is not the end of the story however, there are also career concerns to consider. The drivers of taxis have the assistance of the National Taxi Association backing them. The NTA lobbies for their rights, welfare and mediates their concerns between them and other bodies, for example the LTA.
Until today, the Ubers and Grabs have no such body.
On the 11th of May 2016, the NTUC announced the formation of a National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA). It is helmed by a 15 member pro-tem committee which comprises of private hire drivers from Grab, Uber, Combi Bus and private limousine services.
With an estimated 6k to 8k full time private hire drivers currently, the association has much to look into. The safeguard of livelihoods, workplace protection, professionalism and welfare are some of the more urgent matters.
Would this encourage more ladies to take up Private Hire positions? Considering that the industry is becoming more professionalised and drivers having more protection of bodies such as the NPHVA, it will certainly help in making the decision easier.