Parliament

Cabbies to get road tax rebates earlier as rental reductions

Taxi and private-hire car drivers are expected to be hardest hit by the petrol duty hike, with demand for rides still not at pre-Covid-19 levels. They will get $360 in petrol duty rebates between May and August. The road tax and petrol duty rebates a
Taxi and private-hire car drivers are expected to be hardest hit by the petrol duty hike, with demand for rides still not at pre-Covid-19 levels. They will get $360 in petrol duty rebates between May and August. The road tax and petrol duty rebates are meant to offset the hike for about a year.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Taxi drivers will get 15 per cent in road tax rebates more than a year earlier in the form of rental reductions between the middle of next month and April, while $360 in petrol duty rebates will be disbursed to them and private-hire drivers between May and August.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced this yesterday, in the wake of concerns over the hike in petrol duties announced last week, which came at a time when petrol prices were already at their highest in a year.

With demand for rides still not at pre-Covid-19 levels, taxi drivers and private-hire car drivers are expected to be hardest hit by the hike.

MPs also raised the matter in Parliament yesterday during the debate on the Budget statement, with some calling for the rebates to be given out sooner.

Non-taxi and non-private hire drivers will continue to pay their existing road tax rates until July this year. Any excess will be used to offset the amount payable at the next renewal, LTA said.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said in a Facebook post: "Some have shared their concerns... especially those who rely on their vehicles for their livelihoods.

"We have worked with the unions and operators to bring forward some of the support measures, to help ease the transition for active taxi and private-hire car drivers."

Grab, likely the largest point-to-point operator here, has committed to pass on the road tax rebates from April to its private-hire drivers who lease their vehicles, with more details to be shared later.

Those who lease cars from GrabRentals will have a 30 per cent fuel discount at selected petrol stations, it said.

Gojek said it would introduce additional incentive rebates for its drivers next month and in April, without specifying what these are.

LTA urged all vehicle lessors to pass on the road tax rebates to those who are incurring the costs.

The road tax and petrol duty rebates are meant to offset the increase in petrol duties for these drivers for about a year.

The petrol duty hikes - by 15 cents a litre for 98-octane and higher, and by 10 cents a litre for intermediate grades (92-octane and 95-octane) - seek to get drivers to either drive less or switch to electric cars, which are more environmentally friendly.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2021, with the headline 'Cabbies to get road tax rebates earlier as rental reductions'. Subscribe