Wuhan virus: Quarantined cabbies, private-hire drivers to receive one-off allowance of at least $100

NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng (in red) in a meeting with representatives of the National Private Hire Vehicles Association and the National Taxi Association. PHOTO: NTUC

SINGAPORE - Taxi and private-hire operators will be providing a one-time allowance of at least $100 for any cabby or private-hire driver who needs to be quarantined for the Wuhan virus.

Members of the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) and the National Taxi Association (NTA) will receive an additional one-time $200 assistance from the associations, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said in a release on Saturday (Feb 1).

This is on top of the $100 per day allowance given by the Government.

Eligible drivers of Gojek, Grab, Ryde and their fleet partners will also enjoy a rental waiver if they are affected by the quarantine. Taxi operators ComfortDelGro, SMRT, Premier Taxi, Prime, and Trans-Cab already announced on Monday that affected cabbies will not have to pay rental fees.

The tripartite care package was put together by NPHVA, NTA, the Land Transport Authority, taxi operators and private-hire car operators to support quarantined drivers.

Mr Yee Wee Tang, country head of Grab Singapore, said that Grab drivers placed under quarantine can receive a one-time allowance of up to $500 to help them cope with the loss of income. This is in addition to the $100 allowance from the Government and the tripartite care package.

Its drivers have been advised to wear a mask should they have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose, and to seek immediate medical attention if they are feeling unwell, said Mr Yee.

General manager of Gojek Singapore Lien Choong Luen said that drivers covered by its driver benefits programme can enjoy earnings protection of $1,000 should they be quarantined, or more if they are quarantined for more than 14 days.

Affected drivers who are not covered will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

"To ensure a safer ride environment, we have been distributing surgical masks, hand sanitisers and antibacterial wipes to our driver-partners," said Mr Lien.

"We are also strengthening our educational outreach to driver-partners on precautions such as keeping car windows open when ferrying riders with flu-like symptoms, and observing good hygiene practices such as regularly sanitising high human contact points such as door handles and seats."

After meeting some taxi and private hire leaders from NTA and NPHVA, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said: "They told me that their income has been impacted by the slowdown of tourist arrival. They are concerned for their income and also their health."

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Assuring them that NTUC will do what is necessary to help workers, Mr Ng said: "We will overcome challenges when we work together."

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