The Covid-19 situation has affected taxi and private hire drivers badly, with many of them getting fewer customers per day and experiencing a big hit in daily income.
Although people are starting to go out more now, some may still feel sceptical about taking taxis and being in an enclosed vehicle with a stranger.
Knowing their struggles, the government has been helping these drivers through the Special Relief Fund, which helps them to defray business costs by providing them with a relief of $300 per vehicle per month.
However, the Special Relief Fund is supposed to come to an end this month, and many drivers are now worried about how they’re going to continue without this additional assistance from the government.
Government To Continue Helping Taxi & PHC Drivers
Luckily for them, a new package to help these taxi and private hire car (PHC) drivers are currently in the works and more details about it will be announced soon.
This means that they can continue to look forward to some sort of support from the government.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor took to Facebook on Saturday, 12 Sept, to address the situation.
She said that she understands the circumstances that drivers face due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and also hears their concerns.
Dr Khor has been meeting with taxi and PHC drivers, as well as operators, over the past three weeks. Her latest visit was to Gojek with Minister Ong Ye Kung, and they had a meaningful discussion with their management and driver-partners.
A lot of the drivers that she met shared their concerns with her regarding the Special Relief Fund coming to an end. They were wondering if it would be extended in some form.
“I would like to assure the drivers that we are working on a package of measures to continue to help them during this period,” she said in her Facebook post.
“We will take into consideration the feedback and suggestions received during our interactions and will announce this package soon.”
More Concern For Older Drivers
Although all taxi and PHV drivers are affected by the lack of passengers, it is definitely taking a bigger toll on the older drivers.
They are more reliant on taxi driving as their main source of income and might require additional assistance to safeguard their livelihoods.
Dr Khor also mentioned in her Facebook post that a few drivers did ask her if the government could put in more resources into helping out the older drivers.
In 2019, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed that 33.4 per cent of Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence (TDVL) holders are senior citizens between the ages of 60 and 74.
On the other hand, there are lesser Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) holders who are senior citizens, as they make up only 8.5 per cent of the total number of PDVL holders.
We hope that the continued assistance from the government will help these drivers to continue to make an income that will allow them to sustain themselves.
Perhaps things might start to go back to normal for them once we move into Phase 3 (if that ever happens).
You can read her full Facebook post below:
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