Hawkers at Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre are free from having to open their stalls 24 hours a day, Today reported on Monday, Nov. 19.

They would not have to do so anymore starting from January 2018.

A total of 13 stallholders have been operating for 24 hours a day as part of their contractual obligation.

This is about one-third of the stalls there.

The hawker centre is the only one out of 114 in Singapore that operates 24 hours a day, having written the terms into the contracts.

Hawkers will stop 24-hour operations

The hawkers are taking up the offer of stopping the endless operating hours.

This is following complaints by the hawkers it has not been worthwhile and a review of contractual terms by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and social enterprise hawker centre operators.

The hawker centre in Tampines is operated by OTMH, the social enterprise arm of Kopitiam.

There are a total of 42 stalls at the Tampines hawker centre.

Following this latest review, no stallholder opted for 24-hour operation.

A feedback dialogue has also been held with the stallholders, Kopitiam told Today.

Community wanted 24-hour operations

The round-the-clock operations were supposedly requested by the community.

But after the hawker centre opened in November 2016, the customers failed to show up in droves in the wee hours of the morning between 12am and 6am.

In response, NEA is making tweaks to hawkers’ contractual terms.

Both Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli and Senior Minister of State Amy Khor said in replies to different parliamentary questions on Monday that hawkers and operators will “recalibrate the arrangement”.

Vincent Cheong, Kopitiam’s corporate communications manager, said previously: “In support of Our Tampines Hub (OTH) being a 24/7 integrated hub, we need to ensure that adequate affordable cooked food options are available at all times to maintain vibrancy for both the hawker centre and OTH.”

Some tenants’ requests for shorter operating hours had also been granted, he said.

When the hawker centre opened in November 2016, there were 36 stalls open 24 hours a day.

This number then fell to 13 eventually as hawkers started to opt out of the 24-hour cycle.

The main gripe they had was that staying open overnight can sometimes mean fewer than 10 customers served, which does not make financial sense for them.