Taxi operators ComfortDelGro and SMRT yesterday said they will be giving their drivers a full rental waiver for four weeks from Tuesday to May 5, to help hirers cope with the impact of stricter social distancing measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Ang Wei Neng, chief executive of ComfortDelGro Taxi, said that with the closure of non-essential workplaces and schools, cabbies would find it even more difficult to make ends meet.
“With the full rental waiver, any fare they pick up will go straight to their pockets.”
The move by the two taxi operators comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the closures last Friday to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Mr Tony Heng, senior vice-president of SMRT Road Holdings, said: “It is the time for us to show our maximum support to our taxi partners. With their rentals fully waived for one month, they can earn their living instead of worrying about overheads.”
SMRT will also be partnering with Fei Siong Group, KFC, Pizza Hut, GrabFood and GrabExpress to provide taxi drivers with delivery jobs as well.
The full rental waiver is expected to cost ComfortDelGro $19 million.
For the four weeks, the full rental waiver supersedes the extension of daily rental relief announced earlier. That relief package, which will run till September, kicks back in after May 5. Together, the total relief package for its cabbies is expected to cost up to $99 million.
For SMRT, the full rental waiver will cost $7.3 million, and this supersedes the earlier announcement on the extension of daily rental rebates for the four weeks.
That relief package, to run till Sept 30, will kick in after May 5. Together with the earlier rental rebates announced, the total relief package is expected to cost SMRT up to $17.9 million.
SMRT taxi driver Vincent Lee, 42, said: “I used to do more than 20 trips a day, but ever since the outbreak, I’ve only had less than 10 a day.
“When I heard about the new trial to do food deliveries, I immediately signed up for as many slots as they would allow me. The additional income definitely means a lot to taxi drivers like me.”
Correction note: This story has been updated with figures from SMRT.