Taxi drivers and their private-hire car (PHC) counterparts are set to receive an additional $133 million in COVID-19-related financial assistance from the Government.
In a scheme dubbed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wednesday (16 December) as “more generous”, eligible taxi and PHC drivers will receive the payouts in two tranches.
The first will be a monthly S$600 per vehicle from January to March next year, while the second will be a monthly S$450 per vehicle from April to June next year.
Some existing 52,000 drivers who are currently eligible for the Special Relief Fund (SRF) will be automatically be transitioned to the CDRF starting January next year.
The extra sum of S$133 million supplements the $55 million committed towards the current SRF. The new CDRF will replace the SRF.
Active taxi and private hire car drivers who receive the CDRF payouts will not be eligible for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) announced today by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
“Drivers who do not qualify for the CDRF may apply for the CRG if they meet its eligibility criteria,” said the LTA.
Touching on the extra allocation for taxi and PHC drivers under the new fund, the LTA said that taxi and PHC ridership “remains lower than pre-COVID levels as tourism activities remain muted and many employees are still working from home” despite improvements in the COVID-19 situation in Singapore.
“COVID-19 has also changed commuting patterns, with shorter taxi and PHC trips which result in lower fares per trip,” said the Authority.
LTA stressed that it “has been monitoring the situation closely”, especially “the continued concerns among taxi and PHC drivers over their incomes and livelihoods as we head into 2021”.
The Authority also said that it has regularly engaged drivers, operators, the National Taxi Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association.
The CDRF’s introduction comes as the end of the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) approaches on 1 January next year.
Under the scheme, eligible drivers would have received S$3,000 each in May, July and October.