Between January to June 2021, taxi drivers and private hire car (PHC) drivers stand to receive up to $3,150 from a new targeted COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF). The CDRF will replace the Special Relief Fund (SRF) for taxi and private hire car drivers to defray their daily costs as it is paid on a per vehicle per month basis.
The CDRF is expected to cost the government $133 million. This is on top of the $55 million already committed towards the SRF.
The announcement of the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) from the government is also timely as the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) ceased on 31 December 2020. This would have impacted a significant number of taxi drivers and private hire car drivers. This is also an extension on the Special Relief Fund which was to last until March 2021.
With about 63,800 taxi drivers and private hire car drivers in Singapore, they make up the largest group of self-employed persons. In fact, taxi drivers and private hire car drivers comprised over 30% of the 211,000-strong self-employed population in Singapore as at June 2019.
Exactly How Much Will Drivers Get From The COVID-19 Drivers Relief Fund (CDRF)?
Taxi drivers and private hire car driver will get $3,150 in total, spread out over six months between January 2021 and June 2021.
From January to March 2021, the CDRF will provide $600 per vehicle per month (or $20 a day). From April to June 2021, the CDRF will provide a lower amount of $450 per vehicle per month (or $15 a day).
|COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) Payouts|
|January 2021 to March 2021||$600 per vehicle per month ($20 a day)||$1,800|
|April 2021 to June 2021||$450 per vehicle per month ($15 a day)||$1,350|
Eligible taxi drivers and private hire car drivers will receive their CDRF through rental rebates from taxi operators and private hire car opreators rather than in cash.
What Is The Eligibility Criteria To Receive The COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF)?
As mentioned, the CDRF replaces the Special Relief Fund (SRF). As such, existing drivers who were already eligible for the SRF will automatically be transitioned to the CDRF from January 2021. According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), about 52,000 drivers were eligible for the SRF.
Eligibility for the Special Relief Fund (SRF) required drivers to be the main taxi hirers (taxi drivers) or remain in the private hire car platform as full-time drivers (private hire car drivers).
This means relief taxi drivers are not eligible, but main taxi hirers are encouraged to share the relief sum with them.
On the other hand, eligible private hire car drivers who are sharing vehicles with other eligible private hire car drivers will receive their payment apportioned equally. This is because the CDRF (and the SRF before it) is provided on a per vehicle per month basis.
Active taxi and private hire car drivers who receive the CDRF will not be eligible for another new scheme – the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG). However, if drivers are not eligible for the CDRF, they may apply for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) if they are eligible.
Ongoing Support Measures For Drivers During COVID-19
Both taxi drivers and private hire car drivers have been impacted by COVID-19. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) recognises that while the situation is improving in Singapore, ridership remains lower than pre-COVID-19.
Some reasons include the fact that tourism activities have slowed and many employees continue to work from home. COVID-19 has also changed commuting patterns, resulting in shorter trips and, consequently, lower fares. The current restrictions on nightlife activities have also understandably subdued demand for rides in the night.
Since February 2020, the government has provided $300 per month per vehicle in support to drivers via the Special Relief Fund (SRF) announced through three Point-to-Point Support Packages (PPSP).
In addition, drivers, being self-employed individuals, were also able to tap on the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) providing $9,000 – $3,000 each in May, July and October 2020.
Taxi operators and private hire car platforms have also chipped in to provide rental relief and commission rebates.
In a Facebook post on 18 December, Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Transport mentioned that taxi operators have also committed to at least $300/month in rental relief from January 2021 to June 2021. This will give taxi drivers an additional $1,800 in relief in the first half of 2021. However, there was no mention of private hire car platforms providing this rental relief.
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