Singapore: S$77 million package to help taxi, private-hire drivers affected by COVID-19 outbreak

SINGAPORE, Feb 14 (NNN-CNA) — A S$77 million Point-to-Point Support Package to help taxi and private-hire car drivers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak was announced by the Singapore government.

The Government will contribute S$45 million towards the package, with the remaining provided by taxi and private-hire car operators. 

“The Government recognises that there is an urgent need for targeted assistance to drivers,” the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Ministry of Transport (MOT) said in a press release. 

The package has multiple components. The largest portion is a S$73 million Special Relief Fund that will help active full-time taxi and private-hire car drivers defray business costs, comprising S$41 million in government contributions and S$32 million from operators.

“The taxi drivers as well as the private-hire car drivers, do describe a significant reduction in the number of trips they’re able to make per day,” said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary. 

“Some of our data suggests that it’s 10 per cent. But I think there may be some lag, and the drivers that I’ve spoken to today, the numbers that they’re showing me on the apps in terms of the rides they have logged over the last couple of days suggest a larger change.” 

About 40,000 eligible drivers will receive up to S$20 per vehicle per day for three months, contributed equally by the Government and operators.

Eligible taxi hirers will automatically receive the special relief through their taxi operators starting from Friday, while private-hire car drivers have to apply through their companies.

Private-hire car operators Grab and Gojek will provide application and disbursement details to their drivers within the next week, LTA and MOT said.

The companies that will be contributing to the package are taxi operators Comfort, CityCab, SMRT Taxis, Trans-Cab, Premier Taxis, Prime and HDT Taxi, along with Grab and Gojek.

Active drivers who do not qualify for the Special Relief Fund can still benefit from financial assistance by applying for the Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund. The Government will contribute S$2.7 million towards the fund, with trade union NTUC administering it over the next three months. — NNN-CNAnths of operator licence fees, totalling about S$1.3 million. The authority will also delay the implementation of the upcoming Street-hail Service Operator Licence and Ride-hail Service Operator Licence.

The scheme will take effect from September 2020, instead of June.