In February 2020, the PPSP was introduced to provide targeted assistance to the Point-to-Point (P2P) sector and its drivers who have been impacted by COVID-19. Since then, the Government has received much feedback from the taxi and Private Hire Car (PHC) industry, which we have carefully considered. In particular, P2P operators have observed a sustained drop in ridership of over ~20%, and drivers have seen significant declines in their earnings. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, the impact on P2P drivers and operators will become more pronounced.
Government and Taxi Operators Rally to Help Taxi and PHC Drivers
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the Government will set aside another $95 million to enhance the PPSP. Taxi operators have also moved quickly to pledge an additional $25 million worth of matching rental rebates for their hirers. This $120 million enhanced PPSP will help taxi and PHC drivers and their families tide over this challenging period. Together with the earlier $77 million PPSP announced on 13 Feb 2020, and other operator support for their drivers pledged to date, more than $216 million in contributions have been made by Government and industry to support the P2P operators and drivers during this COVID-19 period.
Second Tranche of Point-to-Point Support Package (PPSP2)
Extension of Special Relief Fund for Taxi and PHC Drivers
Of the $120 million announced today, $78 million in Government funding will go towards the Special Relief Fund (SRF). The SRF helps active taxi and PHC drivers defray business costs through relief of $300 per vehicle per month (i.e. $10 per day). The SRF, which was to have ended in end May 2020, will now be extended to end September 2020. Over 40,000 drivers will qualify for the extended SRF. Taxi operators have also pledged to continue providing matching rental rebates worth an additional $25 million to their hirers. Details on the eligibility criteria for the extended SRF and taxi operator rental rebates will be released later.
New Self-Employed Persons Income Relief Scheme
Besides the SRF, self-employed taxi and PHC drivers can also look forward to the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) announced today. SIRS will provide eligible self-employed persons with $1,000 per month for nine months and will be administered by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
Relief for P2P Operators
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had earlier waived P2P operator licence fees for three months. LTA will extend this for another six months. The additional six-month waiver will help operators to tide through the current difficult business climate and will cost the Government about $3 million. To help taxi operators defray the cost of their unhired fleet, the Government will also provide up to $2,200 in special relief for each unhired taxi. All operators are strongly encouraged to pass on these business cost savings to their drivers, such as through rental reductions and waiver of early return contract breakage costs.
Waiver of $100 Outward Conversion Fee for PHCs
With the slowdown in demand for P2P services, the Government will reduce barriers for vehicle owners who wish to convert their PHCs out of the PHC scheme by providing a one-time waiver of the $100 outward conversion fee. This will allow vehicle owners to enjoy lower insurance premiums and can also help ease drivers’ transition to other jobs.
Enhanced Training Support Package for P2P Drivers
Taxi and PHC drivers will also receive enhanced training support from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). From 1 April till end 2020, they will be able to benefit from enhanced course fee support of up to 90% for selected courses. SSG will also work with LTA and appointed Continuing Education and Training Centres to ramp up training capacity during this period. For a start, SSG is partnering Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, and NTUC LearningHub. This training support package will help drivers to develop deep domain skills, emerging skills, as well as soft skills during this downtime.
Eligible drivers will also receive $10 per hour in training allowance under the Self-Employed Person (SEP) Training Support Scheme, which is part of the NTUC Training Fund (SEPs).
We would like to thank all our partners for working closely with the Government to ensure the sustainability of the P2P sector during this difficult period.