SINGAPORE - Drivers working for ComfortDelGro Taxi will get an additional $10 rental relief daily, as their earnings are expected to drop further following more stringent measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
The operator said on Wednesday (March 25) that the rental relief will be added on to its existing daily rental cuts of $16.50, with these current cuts also extended by a month.
Combined with relief measures offered by the Government, this means that the firm's taxi drivers will now get a total daily rental reduction of $46.50 up till end-April.
The improved rental relief comes after the Government announced on Tuesday that gatherings outside work and school would be limited to 10 people, and that entertainment venues are to close.
The measures take effect from 11.59pm on Thursday and will last until the end of next month.
Mr Ang Wei Neng, chief executive of ComfortDelGro Taxi, said that while the firm supports the measures, it recognises that they will result in a drop in demand for taxis as people stay home.
It has therefore decided to extend and improve the rental relief, he said.
"We will do what we can to support our cabbies during these difficult times," he said.
He added that ComfortDelGro is hoping that a second stimulus package to help the economy tide over the coronavirus will further help taxi drivers.
Details of the package will be announced in Parliament on Thursday by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Taxi drivers and private-hire drivers say their earnings have dropped by as much as 60 per cent since the outbreak hit Singapore in January.
Many have given up driving as a result, despite financial aid handed out by the Government and operators.
While no operator would divulge the rate of cars not rented out, industry observers reckon it could be as high as 30 per cent.
ComfortDelGro also said on Wednesday that it will waive taxi rentals for drivers who have been given a five-day medical leave with immediate effect.
Since last month, doctors have been advised to give five days of sick leave to patients with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose.
Previously, ComfortDelGro waived rentals only for drivers who have been placed under quarantine by the Ministry of Health or put on leave of absence or stay-home notice by the company.