Coronavirus: Taxi firms will waive rental fees for cabs if drivers are quarantined

ComfortDelGro will also work with the National Taxi Association and the National Transport Workers' Union to help affected drivers and extend assistance, including financial aid from its Cabby Hardship Fund. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Any cabby who needs to be quarantined for the Wuhan coronavirus will not have to pay rental fees for their taxis, transport operators ComfortDelGro, SMRT, Premier Taxi and Trans-Cab said on Monday (Jan 27).

ComfortDelGro employees returning from China are required to take a 14-day leave of absence upon their return.

Premier Taxi is encouraging its staff who have been to China to take a break before returning to work.

The measures come after the Government announced that students and staff of public educational institutes, as well as staff and people at public childcare and eldercare facilities, who have been to China will have to take 14 days' leave of absence starting the day after their return.

ComfortDelGro managing director and group chief executive Yang Ban Seng said: "The inability to drive has a direct impact on their livelihood and we will assist as best we can."

The mandatory leave will count as paid leave, which comes on top of the annual leave entitlement, said the company in a statement.

ComfortDelGro will also work with the National Taxi Association (NTA) and the National Transport Workers' Union to help affected drivers and extend assistance, including financial aid from its Cabby Hardship Fund.

Similarly, Trans-Cab will assist drivers "who encounter financial difficulty during the quarantine period", said Trans-Cab's general manager Jasmine Tan.

SMRT said it will work with NTA to assist their drivers the best they can.

A staff member screening the body temperatures of arriving passengers at the Changi Airport in Singapore on Jan 22, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

At a press conference on Monday to announce enhanced measures to contain the spread of the Wuhan virus in Singapore, the Health Ministry noted that travel on MRT trains and taxis has been assessed to have a low risk of transmission of the disease.

However, the concern is to protect taxi drivers because of their being in an environment with continued exposure to many passengers.

In the meantime, help will be given to those who have been quarantined, said a high-level task force that includes several fourth-generation ministers.

The Government will work with the national taxi drivers association and taxi companies to render help and assistance to affected drivers.

Cabbies affected by quarantine measures are also being checked regularly.

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