We refer to the commentary (Private-hire, taxi trade needs long-term fix, Sept 19).
The article mentioned that commercial transport operators did not match the Government’s assistance for their drivers.
We would like to offer some data to provide clarity on the issue. Taxi companies have offered $182 million of Covid-19 related rental rebates this year. Within the Government Special Relief Fund package, $40 million goes towards taxi drivers.
The commentary also suggested that the authorities step in to manage the “oversupply” of vehicles in the private hire market. But it was not too long ago that we had a problem of peak hour shortage of taxis, and commuters were very frustrated. The problem is by and large resolved today.
The fact is the Land Transport Authority (LTA) needs to strike a careful balance between demand and supply. A significant number of Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence drivers also drive part-time, so the number of taxis and private-hire vehicles are not quite comparable.
As for car-pooling, private car owners are permitted to make arrangements to fetch people to share the costs of their daily routine trips, but not as a commercial arrangement. For safety reasons, commuters should always use licensed platforms when choosing to car-pool. Paid car-pool services arranged through informal platforms such as chat groups are illegal.
LTA will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to support the P2P sector in riding out the Covid-19 situation.
Yeo Teck Guan
Senior Group Director, Public Transport
Land Transport Authority