If you’re ever around Jalan Leban off Upper Thomson road, keep your eyes peeled for this old-school Taxi Services Stand. It’s half a century old and is one of the very few left in Singapore. I remember there used to be one that looked almost identical to this in Serangoon Gardens along Penhurst Place but it has since been demolished.
The Sembawang Hill Estate Taxi Services Stand is a rustic looking hut made using red bricks, wooden planks, glass louvered windows, and a slanted zinc roof. It also has mosaic tiles on the floor and ventilation space just below the roof for warm air to escape, keeping the hut cool.
Taxi drivers used to wait around at such service stands, usually chatting with each other over a cup of kopi, for passengers to dial a cab. Back then, telephone numbers still had seven digits and taxi booking service only five digits (e.g. 59924). According to the print on the stone benches, it was established in 1968.
Also of note is the usage of the old Chinese name for Sembawang 森峇旺 instead of 三巴旺 it is currently. Previously owned by Sembawang Hill Estates Limited, the hut is now maintained by a group of old cab drivers, who still gather here occasionally to catch up and reminisce old times.