SINGAPORE - Private bus operators left out of last month's transport-specific support package will get handouts under the $48 billion package announced on Thursday (March 26).
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said these operators - which have been reeling from a drying up of tourist arrivals - will be granted a one-year road tax rebate. Benefiting owners of some 13,500 vehicles, it will amount to $12 million.
Operators will also be granted a nine-month waiver of Class 2 Bus Service Licence fee amounting to $200,000. Those who have paid the fee for this year will get refunds of about $750 each.
Mr Heng added that a six-month waiver of parking charges at government-managed parking facilities will be granted.
These measures will cost $23 million.
These direct rebates aside, bridging loans to help owner-operators with instalment payments for their vehicles will be enhanced.
Up to $5 million in bridging loan (up from $1 million previously), with interest capped at 5 per cent per annum and a maximum tenure of five years, will be granted.
A new element in this measure is a one-year deferment of principal repayment may also be granted.
Private bus operators told The Straits Times last month that their daily takings have plunged by as much as 90 per cent, with some saying that the amount is barely half of their overheads.
Several signed a petition earlier this month, and had met MPs to voice their concerns.