This article was first published on 22 May 2021 and has been updated with information on the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund top-up (CDRF+) for Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), which was announced on 21 May 2021, and the extended CDRF (CDRF2) scheme for Phase 3 (Heightened Alert), which was announced on 10 June 2021.
The COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) is a support package for taxi drivers and private hire car (PHC) drivers. It was initially rolled out as a support package from January 2021 to June 2021, and has now been enhanced at least two times on the back of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and Phase 3 (Heightened Alert). The CDRF package was meant to replace the Special Relief Fund (SRF) and Self-employed persons Income Relief Scheme (SIRS). With the latest enhancements, the CDRF will be extended from June 2021 to September 2021.
These payouts are illustrated in detail below. Note that these are just illustrations, and not meant to be taken as actual payouts during the month. This is because, under the CDRF, the taxi drivers started receiving their payouts from 1 January 2021, while private hire car drivers only started from 18 January 2021.
How Much Are Taxi & Private Hire Car Drivers Already Receiving Under The Existing COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF)?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, taxi and private hire car drivers have been receiving financial support from various government schemes.
In 2020, the Point-to-Point Support Package (PPSP) was introduced to help taxi and private hire car drivers cope with the dwindling number of passengers. When measures under the scheme ended by December 2020, a new COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) was announced to provide additional support from January 2021 to June 2021.
The CDRF is paid to the main hirer. However, LTA states that “main hirers are strongly encouraged to share the amount received with their relief drivers.” Any disputes should be raised with the respective operators. Similarly, drivers with multiple platforms will need to nominate their preferred facilitating operator to disburse the funds.
The CDRF was initially intended to last from January 2021 to June 2021.
From January to March 2021, the CDRF will provide $600 per vehicle, amounting to $20 a day. From April to June 2021, this will go down to $450 per vehicle, or $15 a day. This is worth $188 million.
CDRF+ [announced on 21 May 2021]
In light of tightening safe management measures on the back of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), the CDRF was enhanced. This is meant to provide additional support to drivers, who would already be getting payouts from the existing scheme during the month.
Dubbed CDRF+, a one-time top-up of $10 per vehicle a day would be given to taxi and PHC drivers from 16 May to 29 June 2021. This amounts to an additional payout of $450 for the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period. This is worth $27 million.
For example, taxi and private hire car drivers will receive up to $610 in May ($450 [Existing] + $160 [New]) and up to $750 in June ($450 [Existing] + $300 [New]), or $25 per day for the CDRF+ top-up period.
CDRF2 [announced on 10 June 2021]
When a 2-step transition to phase 3 (Heightened Alert) was announced on 10 June, the CDRF was further enhanced. This will cost $40 million.
This is because ridership is expected to take a longer time to recover, seeing as work-from-home would remain as the default work arrangement for the time being. Termed CDRF2, taxi and PHC drivers will get a three-month extension to their payouts, which should now last until September 2021. Under CDRF2, taxi and PHC drivers will get $300 per vehicle in July and August 2021, while they will get $150 per vehicle in September 2021.
COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) Payouts
|[CDRF] Jan 2021||$600 per vehicle per month ($20 a day)|
|[CDRF] Feb 2021||$600 per vehicle per month ($20 a day)|
|[CDRF] Mar 2021||$600 per vehicle per month ($20 a day)|
|[CDRF] Apr 2021||$450 per vehicle per month ($15 a day)|
|[CDRF] May 2021|
[CDRF+] 16 May to 31 May 2021
|$450 per vehicle per month ($15 a day)|
$160 per vehicle per month ($10 a day)
|[CDRF] Jun 2021|
[CDRF+] 1 Jun to 29 Jun 2021
|$450 per vehicle per month ($15 a day)|
$290 per vehicle per month ($10 a day)
|[CDRF2] Jul 2021||$300 per vehicle per month ($10 a day)|
|[CDRF2] Aug 2021||$300 per vehicle per month ($10 a day)|
|[CDRF2] Sep 2021||$150 per vehicle per month ($10 a day)|
There is no need for taxi and private hire car drivers to apply for this grant, as the CDRF payouts (including the top-up disbursement) will automatically receive the top-up through their operators.
Drivers who find themselves ineligible for this grant can tap on the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) for self-employed persons.
Operators Going Beyond Government Measures To Provide More Support
Similar to when past support measures for the sector were announced, operators are also providing additional support for their drivers.
In the Land Transport Authority’s press release on 10 June, it stated that taxi operators have also pledged to provide “matching rental waivers of at least $12 million in total for the duration of the extended CDRF”.
Support For Taxi & Private Hire Car Operators On Quarantine Orders
Taxi and private hire car operators are at higher risk of being placed on Quarantine Orders (QO) as they may come into close contact with individuals who test positively for COVID-19. If drivers are placed on QO, they can tap on the Quarantine Order Allowance by the Ministry of Health (MOH), as well as further relief measures by the individual taxi and private hire car operators.
Drivers who are also part of the National Taxi Association (NTA) or National Private Hire Vehicle Association (NPHVA) will also be able to tap on a one-off $200 assistance package provide by these association.
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