One such business is the private hire industry.
No Longer Sustainable
Many taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers are returning their rental vehicles because they can no longer sustain the costs of the rental after they saw a drop in tourists and customers.
According to an article by Chinese language newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao, one PHV driver by the name of Mr Ong revealed that the wife of the relief driver he was renting the car with has cancer.
Since the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak is still quite rampant, he is afraid that he might be infected while driving his passengers around and that he will end up infecting his already-ill wife and their family, so he decided that it would be best if he stopped driving as a whole.
After the relief driver quit, Mr Ong also thought that it was no longer sustainable for him to continue paying the rental fees of $111 a day, so he, too, returned the rental vehicle.
He also said, “I can drive more than 10 hours a day, but only earn a miserable $10. What’s the point of doing this? I’ll return the car and maybe start again after this whole COVID-19 outbreak blows over.”
“Please Reduce Service/Commission Fees By 20%”
Some PHV drivers have also started a petition on change.org asking private hire companies like Grab and Gojek to waive off 20% of the service and commission fees so that they can get by during this difficult time.
During this time where they are experiencing low volumes of passengers, they still have to pay fixed and variable “operating costs such as vehicle rent, petrol/diesel/gas, maintenance, vehicle insurance, booking app service fee/commission etc”.
As of now at the time of writing, there are already 3,625 people who have signed the petition.
It seems that we are only able to hope that the big companies hear their drivers’ queries and concerns and help them out.
After all, we are in this together to battle against COVID-19, right?
According to the article, Grab announced a Special Relief Fund (SRF) scheme that is co-funded by the government. Grab appears to be reducing their current existing incentives to drivers and encouraging them to try to take on as many passengers as they can.
Instead of encouraging more people to take private transport due to the fear of getting infected by the COVID-19, perhaps there is a greater need to provide help and grants from within the companies themselves.
Hopefully, the COVID-19 situation will get a lot better in the next few weeks and businesses can return to normal soon.
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