Government contributes $45 million to assist taxi and private hire car drivers
Over the past week, the Government has worked closely with the taxi and Private Hire Car (PHC) operators, the National Taxi Association (NTA) and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) to gather ground feedback on the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) outbreak on the Point-to-Point (P2P) industry. Operators have reflected that ridership has declined significantly. In turn, taxi and PHC drivers have seen their livelihoods badly affected.
2. The Government recognises that there is an urgent need for targeted assistance to drivers, so as to ensure sustainable P2P services for Singapore commuters. Earlier today, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary announced that the Government has worked closely with taxi (Comfort, CityCab, SMRT Taxis, Trans-Cab, Premier Taxis, Prime and HDT Taxi) and PHC (Grab and Gojek) operators and driver associations to launch a $77 million Point-to-Point Support Package (PPSP) to help taxi and PHC drivers through this difficult period. The Government is committing $45 million towards this package, with the remaining funds contributed by taxi and PHC companies.
3. The PPSP comprises two components for drivers. First, we will set up a $73 million Special Relief Fund (SRF) to help active full-time taxi and PHC drivers defray business costs. This comprises $41 million in Government contributions and $32 million in operator contributions. About 40,000 eligible drivers will receive a Special Relief of up to $20 per vehicle per day for three months. Of this, Government will contribute $10 per vehicle per day, with the remainder coming from contributing taxi and PHC operators. Eligible taxi hirers will automatically receive the Special Relief through their taxi operators starting from tomorrow (14 February 2020), with no need for applications. Eligible PHC drivers will apply through their operators. PHC operators will provide application and disbursement details to their drivers within the next week.
4. Second, active drivers who do not qualify for the SRF can also benefit from some form of financial assistance. The Government and NTUC will jointly set up a Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund for needy drivers. The Government will contribute $2.7 million towards this fund. NTUC will also contribute in kind by administering the Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund. Details on the application process will be released later.
Waiver of licence fees to support P2P operators
5. We appreciate that the P2P operators have leaned forward to support their drivers during this difficult period, even as their businesses are also affected. To ease the burden on P2P operators, LTA will waive three months of operator licence fees totalling about $1.3 million. In addition, LTA will also delay the implementation of the upcoming Street-hail Service Operator Licence (SSOL) and Ride-hail Service Operator Licence (RSOL). The new P2P regulatory regime will take effect from September 2020 instead. This will allow P2P operators to focus their efforts on assisting drivers as well as addressing business and operational challenges during this period.
6. This PPSP complements the tripartite care package for quarantined drivers which was earlier announced on 1 February 20201. This includes rental waivers and cash assistance. In addition, tripartite partners have also come together to supply drivers with masks, hand sanitisers and temperature-screening services to support COVID-19 precautionary measures.
7. We would like to express our deepest appreciation to NTA, NPHVA, as well as all taxi and PHC operators for working closely with the Government in support of taxi and PHC drivers in their time of need.