SINGAPORE: ComfortDelgro Taxi announced on Monday (Mar 30) it was extending its daily rental relief until September to hirers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hirers currently receive a total of S$46.50 per taxi per day in rental relief, which comprises S$36.50 from the the company and S$10 from the Government's Special Relief Fund.
The relief initiative was first announced in February as part of a S$77 million Point-to-Point Support Package jointly contributed to by the Government and taxi and private-hire car operators.
"The relief amounts from the company are supposed to reduce gradually in April and May under its original time. However, the worsening economic conditions and enhanced COVID-19 measures have made it imperative that more help be extended to cabbies," said ComfortDelgro in a media release.
"As such, the company will match the SRF amount of S$10 until September and, depending on the prevailing conditions, also extend the additional S$26.50 per day relief until then. That is, hirers can expect to receive S$46.50 per day in rental relief from now until Sep 30, 2020 if the situation does not improve," it added.
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The move is expected to cost ComfortDelGro Taxi as much as S$80 million and "will effectively push it into the red" for the year ending Dec 31, 2020, said the company, adding that this will be the "first time Singapore's largest taxi operator will post full-year losses".
Additionally, ComfortDelGro will pass on all savings from the licence fee waiver and the S$2,200 that is being given by the Government for each unhired taxi to cabbies through a waiver of the call levy until September 2020.
All these measures are over and above the S$1,000 per month that the Government is giving to self-employed persons over the next nine months, said the transport operator.
“Our priority is our cabbies’ survival. The dramatic drop in tourist arrivals, the increased number of people working from home, the enhanced measures to restrict crowd at shopping malls and eateries as well as the closure of nightspots, are having a massive impact on our cabbies," said ComfortDelGro Taxi CEO Ang Wei Neng.
"It is unprecedented. Our cabbies are part of the ComfortDelGro family and we want to help them continue to put food on the table."