Private-hire car drivers and cabbies to get cash support for three more months from July

Drivers will receive $300 per month per vehicle from July over two months, and $150 per month per vehicle in the third month.
Drivers will receive $300 per month per vehicle from July over two months, and $150 per month per vehicle in the third month.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Private-hire car and taxi drivers will receive cash support for three more months from July, as the Government has set aside an additional $40 million to support them amid the low ridership during the current heightened alert period.

Drivers will receive $300 a month per vehicle from July over two months, and $150 a month per vehicle in the third month.

This is equivalent to $10 a day for the first 60 days, and $5 a day for the next 30 days.

The additional payout will benefit more than 50,000 drivers, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement on Thursday.

Drivers already receiving the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) payouts will get the extended payouts, while private-hire car drivers who joined the sector on or before May 31 will be notified by their respective operators of their eligibility, LTA said.

Singapore will gradually reopen from June 14, but some measures will likely continue to impact ridership.

"Even after we exit phase two of heightened alert for further reopening from June 21, work-from-home will continue to remain the default arrangement and there will be capacity limits at malls and restaurants," said the LTA.

The agency added that it expects ridership to improve over the coming months due to the gradual reopening.

Taxi operators have also pledged to continue providing rental waivers of at least $12 million for the three-month extension of the CDRF.

The fund provides payouts of $750 per vehicle a month until the end of June, as part of the $27 million set aside to support drivers from May 16 to end-June.

Both extensions come on top of the $188 million in assistance that the Government had initially committed to provide assistance to taxi and private-hire drivers between January and June 2021.

This brings the total sum committed to the CDRF to $255 million.

LTA said that the new support measures were devised after consultation with the National Taxi Association, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association as well as taxi and private-hire car operators.

Taxi main hirers will continue to receive the payouts in the form of rental rebates, while private-hire car drivers will receive the payments through their e-wallets.

Drivers who do not qualify for the CDRF, including taxi relief drivers, may apply for the Ministry of Social and Family Development's Covid-19 Recovery Grant if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The CDRF replaces the Special Relief Fund, which has been providing payouts to drivers affected by Covid-19 since February last year.

Drivers eligible for the CDRF include existing drivers who have qualified for the Special Relief Fund and drivers who have completed an average of 200 trips per month from Oct 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021.