SINGAPORE: Taxi and private-hire car drivers will now be allowed to make grocery and food deliveries to meet the increased demand amid the COVID-19 outbreak, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Sunday (Mar 29).
In a Facebook post, Mr Khaw noted that demand for home deliveries has grown, and will continue increasing in the coming weeks as the Government calls on more people to work from home.
"With tighter safe distancing measures, working from home and telecommuting, demand for home deliveries, whether for food or groceries, has grown," he said. "Anecdotally, it has gotten difficult to obtain a delivery slot across the various online grocery platforms.
"We are also observing a dip in the fulfilment rates for online food deliveries. The demand for home delivery will only increase in the upcoming weeks as we push for more people to work from home."
There is currently a limited trial with ride-sharing company Grab to allow its drivers to also deliver goods and food, said Mr Khaw.
"We were concerned about such service affecting the traditional passenger service, and contributing to traffic (jams). But this is an unusual time, with reduced demand for point-to-point transport and less traffic on the road," Mr Khaw explained.
"We have therefore decided to expand the Grab trial and will continue to avail this option to taxi and other PHC (private-hire car) operators to allow their drivers to participate in such delivery service, if they wish. This will also help supplement their income."
There will be a "temporary liberalisation" of point-to-point regulations, the minister said, adding that this will take immediate effect and go on until the end of June.