Jurong West Hawker Centre to change controversial tray-return scheme

A hawker centre in Singapore. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
A hawker centre in Singapore. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Hawkers at Jurong West Hawker Centre will no longer have to pay 20 cents to customers who return their trays.

Instead, it will be the customers who will pay a 20-cent deposit to collect clean trays for use, and be refunded when they return the trays to the collection points.

The change by Hawker Management, which runs the centre, comes after news broke of hawkers being unhappy over its original tray-return scheme, which had placed additional financial burden on them.

In a statement on Thursday (Oct 18), Hawker Management said, “In line with the objective to encourage a gracious society where patrons play a proactive role in returning their trays, the tray return initiative will thereby help to reduce cleaning fees for tenants while easing the workload of the cleaners.”

The operator added that the date for when this change will kick in will be announced at a later stage, once all details have been finalised.

In August, several of the hawkers at the centre – which is located at Jurong West Street 61 – had filed a petition to the National Environment Agency for the operator to remove the 20-cent fee. The petition was also sent to Koufu, which Hawker Management is a social enterprise subsidiary of.

Hawkers said that, under the original system, they had to fork out up to S$900 in tray charges every month, and it also resulted in arguments with customers who took multiple trays.

The new deposit system is in line with tray-return schemes at other hawker centres, such as those at Ayer Rajah Crescent and Yishun Park run by Timbre Group, in which customers pay a refundable deposit of 50 cents or S$1 when they take trays.

Hawker Management said its statement that it has noted all other feedback and comments gathered from meetings with the hawkers over the past week. It is reviewing them internally with a view to address all outstanding matters quickly.

“With an aligned common objective, Hawker Management is committed to continue working closely with its tenants at the hawker centre,” the statement added.

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