Subsidised Gojek rides to medical appointments for needy residents

Clockwise from left: Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, Gojek Singapore general manager Lien Choong Luen and Bedok resident Lim Soon Chye, who will benefit from the SG Cares-Gojek Medical Transport Subsidy Scheme announced last Saturday. PHOTO: MCC
Clockwise from left: Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, Gojek Singapore general manager Lien Choong Luen and Bedok resident Lim Soon Chye, who will benefit from the SG Cares-Gojek Medical Transport Subsidy Scheme announced last Saturday. PHOTO: MCCY

Low-income families and senior citizens in Bedok and Jurong East will be able to get subsidised private-hire car rides to medical appointments under a new scheme.

The SG Cares-Gojek Medical Transport Subsidy Scheme was announced by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin last Saturday at a National Day dinner in the Kembangan-Chai Chee ward of Marine Parade GRC, where he is an MP.

The scheme is a collaboration between SG Cares - a national initiative to build a more caring and inclusive society - and Indonesian ride-hailing giant Gojek, as well as other volunteer centres, community groups and social service agencies.

The transport subsidies are aimed at what SG Cares described as a "key problem" of an ageing population, many of whom regularly need to go for medical check-ups or procedures, but are constrained by mobility limitations.

The scheme will be administered by two volunteer centres - Loving Heart Multi-Service Centre and Filos Community Services - which will work with other community partners to identify beneficiaries.

Eligible elderly residents will get vouchers of $10 or $15 for their Gojek rides, and staff at senior activity centres will be able to help them book a ride, as part of a pilot that will run until December this year.

Mr Tan said every eligible senior will get up to four rides a month. Those who need to go for dialysis will have eight rides.

"While this may not cover for everything, it will go a long way in providing that transport support for those in need," he said.

Residents from families in Bedok and Jurong East towns with a per capita income below $1,800 are eligible for the rides. Bedok resident Lim Soon Chye, who will benefit from the scheme, said it will help reduce the cost of travelling for his thrice-weekly dialysis sessions.

Mr Tan also said grassroots organisations should explore new ways to work together with corporations and social services agencies to benefit the community. One example he pointed to was the 100=50 project, a collaboration between volunteer group Heartwarmers and retailer Sheng Siong, which provides groceries to beneficiaries at half price.

The latest initiative aims to give Gojek drivers the opportunity to help those in need and do their part for the community, said Gojek Singapore general manager Lien Choong Luen, a volunteer in the Kembangan-Chai Chee constituency.

"As we double down on community efforts here, we look forward to playing a bigger role in making Singapore a caring, more gracious and inclusive society," said Mr Lien.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2019, with the headline 'Subsidised Gojek rides to medical appointments for needy residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe