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SMRT gives taxi partners $5.8 million in rental rebates
SMRT Taxis will hand out an additional S$5.8 million in rental rebates to aid taxi partners who have been hit by "significantly reduced demand for their services" as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, said the company in a statement on Thursday.
From March 27 to March 31, 2020, all SMRT's taxi partners will receive a daily total rent reduction of S$60. For the month of April, they will be given a daily total rental reduction of S$55.
Previously, it was announced that taxi partners will receive $35 and $30 respectively for those periods, which includes $10 from the government under the Special Relief Fund (SRF).
SMRT has since increased the daily rental rebate by $25 till the end of March, to help partners cope with the impact of the enhanced Covid-19 measures which require bars, cinemas and entertainment venues to be closed from March 26 to April 30.
With the first tranche of SRF ending on May 13, taxi partners will continue to receive total reduction of S$20 through the second tranche of SRF, which was announced by the government on Thursday. This amount will be funded equally by the government and SMRT over the 4.5 months.
Including the S$4.8 million in rental rebates given out from February to May, the total support amounts to around S$10.6 million over the 7.5 months from mid-February to end September.
Meanwhile, SMRT is also working to help taxi partners with short-term job options and opportunities for those looking for a career change to become bus captains with SMRT Buses.
It is also working with business partners to buy taxi vouchers in bulk in order to generate more trips for cabbies. Within SMRT, all staff have been asked to take SMRT taxis for their work trips if they are using point-to-point (P2P) services.
SMRT will also waive rental fees for taxi partners should they be placed under quarantine by the Ministry of Health. In addition, SMRT Taxis’ Helping Hand Fund will provide care and support to taxi partners who have to go on a leave of absence, or comply with a stay-home notice, quarantine order, or who come down with the illness.
It has also been also been distributing care packages to taxi partners to safeguard their health and that of passengers.
Said Tony Heng, senior vice-president of SMRT Road Holdings: “We are grateful to receive financial support from the government. During this difficult time, taking care of our partners remains a priority for SMRT, even though our taxi business unit is facing financial challenges. We are topping up what we get from the government to support our partners as best we can, financially and in other ways.”