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Due to a sharp drop in business resulting from the Wuhan coronavirus, taxi and private-hire drivers will be eligible for a S$77 million relief package from the Singapore Government.
In an effort to help taxi and private-hire vehicle (PHV) drivers with the fall in passenger pick-ups, the Government has partnered with taxi and private-hire companies to create a S$77 million package, with the Government contributing S$45 million.
Taxi and PHV drivers can tap into this package, with about 40,000 drivers eligible for a daily S$20 relief for three months starting today, 14 February 2020.
All main taxi hirers qualify for this package. Therefore, they will receive the S$20 automatically in their hiring accounts every day, without the need to submit any application.
However, only PHV drivers who have completed at least 200 trips a month from October to December 2019 will be eligible for this package.
Those who do not qualify are still able to tap into a S$2.7 million fund set up by the Government and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Transport, had spoken with some drivers and one of them, a PHV driver, mentioned that bookings for his trips had dropped by 30 percent. However, Janil said, “some of our data suggests that it’s 10 percent, but I think there might be a lag…Somewhere between the two is probably the correct number”.
It was also noted that this S$77 million package is “about 60 percent” higher as compared to a similar package launched during the SARS outbreak back in 2003. Although, this new package is currently only aimed towards the point-to-point sector of the industry.
With some companies asking their employees to work from home during this novel coronavirus outbreak, taxi and PHV drivers are losing customers as these employees need not travel to work.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also helping out. They will waive three months’ worth of operating fees for taxi and private-hire companies, with the total amounting to S$1.3 million.
LTA will also defer the start of a point-to-point licensing regime to September 2020, while it was originally meant to be launched in June this year. There are two licenses under this regime – one for street-hail operators (taxi companies) and the other for ride-hail operators (PHV firms like Grab).
Source: The Straits Times
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