COVID-19 SPECIAL

Coronavirus: Most taxi firms unlikely to match ComfortDelGro's rental waiver extension to cabbies

ComfortDelGro said that its rental waiver would be extended by another month on April 22.
ComfortDelGro said that its rental waiver would be extended by another month on April 22.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - It looks like not everyone will be matching taxi giant ComfortDelGro's extension of taxi rental waiver.

The Straits Times understands only SMRT will be extending the waiver to its cabbies for the second month till June 1, in line with the Government's move to continue with stay-home measures to beat the coronavirus outbreak for another month.

For the first month of the so-called "circuit breaker", all taxi operators waived rental, which amounts to around $100 per day per cab.

On April 22 - a day after the circuit breaker extension was announced - ComfortDelGro said that its rental waiver would be extended by another month.

At the time, other players said they were likely to match ComfortDelGro's move.

But on Monday (April 27), Trans-Cab, the second-largest cab operator here, told its cabbies that it will charge $21.40 a day from May 6 to June 1.

This caused a furore among its drivers.

Mr Low Choon Min, 62, said: "It's not fair. Why is it that ComfortDelGro can give free rental, but not Trans-Cab?"

Another Trans-Cab driver, Mr Tai Choon Wai, 52, said: “This definitely does not feel good. My family actually told me to stop driving because it’s just too risky. But I said I have to keep driving to put food on the table.”

Trans-Cab general manager Jasmine Tan said it could not afford to continue with zero rental because "this crisis is not going to end by June".

 
 
 

"We cannot use up all our resources," she said. "If we do, we will not be able to help our drivers later.

"We will monitor the situation, and progressively roll out assistance as necessary."

Premier Taxis and Prime Taxi have not announced their course of action for the second month of the circuit breaker, although Prime chairman Neo Nam Heng said: “We are likely to follow Trans-Cab’s rental.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly,” he added.

Private-hire operators have also not reacted to the waiver extension. 

In the first month, Gojek granted rental waivers of up to 60 per cent and a 100 per cent commission waiver, while Grab implemented a 30 per cent rental waiver and a 50 per cent reduction in commission payment by its drivers.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, adviser to the National Taxi Association and National Private Hire Vehicles Association, said: “We do hope all operators can offer rental waiver or other assistance to drivers for the extended circuit breaker period.”