If you are a taxi driver or private hire car driver, you are considered a Point-to-Point (P2P) driver, as defined by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Then, you will be eligible for LTA’s $120 million enhanced P2P Support Package (PPSP) announced by the Land Trans. This will be the third instalment of the PPSP, which provided $77 million in February 2020 and second tranche of PPSP worth $120 million in March 2020.
Combined, the three packages, amounting to $309 million, provide targeted assistance to the P2P sector and the close to 40,000 P2P drivers. This will help drivers overcome the COVID-19 downturn, resulting in a 30% drop in ridership and shorter trips resulting in lower fares for drivers.
In February 2020, taxi drivers and Private Hire Car drivers placed on quarantine due to COVID-19 were eligible for the tripartite care package, consisting i) $200 one-off allowance from National Taxi Association (NTA); ii) rental waiver for private hire vehicles by Gojek, Grab, Ryde and their fleet partners, and iii) one-off allowance from taxi and private-hire car operators of at least $100. This is in addition to rental waivers by taxi operators and $100 per day allowance for quarantine self-employed person from the government.
What Is The Point-to-Point Support Package?
In February 2020, the government introduced the P2P Support Package (PPSP). This $77 million package gives specific assistance to the P2P sector and its drivers. The government contributed $45 million, with the remaining funds contributed by taxi companies – Comfort, CityCab, SMRT Taxis, Trans-Cab, Premier Taxis, Prime and HDT Taxi) and Private Hire Car (PHC) companies – Grab and Gojek.
This comprised two components, a $73 million Special Relief Fund (SRF) to help active full-time taxi drivers and PHC driver defray business costs. Eligible drivers received $20 per vehicle per day for three months. Second, active drivers who did not qualify can benefit from the Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund for needy drivers. The government also waived three months of operator license fees worth $1.3 million.
In March 2020, a second tranche of the PPSP worth $120 million was announced. This included $78 million towards the Special Relief Fund, helping to defray business costs with a relief of $300 per vehicle per month. Taxi operators also pledged matching rental rebates worth $25 million to their hirers. Besides this, self-employed taxi and private hire car drivers were also eligible for the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), providing $1,000 per month for nine months. At the same time, P2P operator licence fees, worth $3 million, were waived for another six months.
For drivers who wished to discontinue driving, a one-time waiver of the $100 outward conversion fee was provided so they can enjoy lower insurance premiums.
Taxi operators would receive $2,200 per unhired taxi to help defray operators’ business costs.
The Third Instalment Of PPSP For Taxi Drivers And Private Hire Car Drivers
LTA explains that P2P ridership is not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the near term. Hence, the third portion of the PPSP, announced on 15 September 2020, is worth an additional $112 million.
The bulk of this third portion – that is, $106 million – will go towards extending the Special Relief Fund for six months. As for the remaining $6 million, $5.8 million will go to 2 extensions: Extension of Special Relief for Unhired Taxis ($4.6 million), and Extension of Licence Fee Waiver ($1.2 million).
The Special Relief Fund Will Be Extended For 6 months To March 2021
As mentioned – to pay for this extension, the $106 million will be channelled into this Fund to help P2P drivers.
The Fund will continue to offset the business costs for P2P drivers by giving monthly payouts of $300 per vehicle per month. P2P drivers who are currently receiving payouts from the Fund, will continue to do so during the extended period.
Since the Fund started paying taxi hirers on 14 February 2020, they have not had to apply for it. Taxi hirers receive the Fund through their taxi operators. Eligible private hire car drivers have to apply through their operators.
Taxi operators have also pledged to continue providing matching rental rebates to their hirers. This is worth an additional $29 million.
P2P Drivers Can Continue Doing Deliveries
To continue boosting the income of P2P drivers, they will be allowed to do deliveries for one more year. That is, until end-September 2021.
New Rules For Private Hire Car Drivers
In the same announcement on 15 September 2020, the LTA also introduced new rules for private hire car drivers.
With immediate effect, the criteria to be a private hire car driver have changed. To apply for a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL), you now need to be a Singapore citizen, be at least 30 years old, and have at least one year of driving experience.
These changes fully align the PDVL criteria with those of a Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence.
– Permanent residents could apply for the licence, and
– there was no minimum age.
Despite the lack of a minimum age, applicants had to hold a driver’s licence for at least 2 years – which means private hire car drivers could be as young as 20 years old.
LTA also said that Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) applications received before 5.30pm on 15 September 2020, will be processed under the previous criteria.
Current PDVL holders who are under 30 years old or, are Singapore Permanent Residents, will not be affected by this new rule. LTA says that the proportion of private hire car drivers under 30 years old is small. Private hire car operators have also said that the majority of this group drive part-time.
They can continue to do so as long as they renew their PDVLs before expiry.
In a Facebook post on 15 September 2020, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Transport, said: “The number of PDVL holders below 30 is 7,500, or about 15% of all PDVL holders.” She also wrote that: “In the first 6 months of 2020, there were about 150 new PDVL holders per month below the age of 30 years old, which is slightly less than 30% of total new PDVL holders in the same period.
Not all PDVL holders are driving. Also, close to 90% of drivers who are less than 30 years old drive part time.”
Taken together, the 3 measures announced on 15 September 2020 are meant to ensure the sustainability of the P2P sector during the present difficult period.
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