23 March 2020
1. SMRT is providing our taxi and other point-to-point (P2P) partners with shortterm job options and also opportunities for a career change to become Bus Captains in light of the ongoing Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak which has adversely impacted our partners’ livelihood.
2. Successful applicants will receive the necessary training before being deployed to be Bus Captains in SMRT Buses. SMRT is also working with agencies to help taxi and other P2P partners reskill and find short-term jobs.
3. Mr Tan Kian Heong, President of SMRT Road Holdings, said: “We understand that this is a very challenging period for our partners. We want to help them tide over the COVID-19 outbreak. As the dominant rail operator and a major public bus operator, we want to do all that we can in the company to support them and also to help them find other job opportunities.”
4. For our partners who are still driving taxis and limousines, we are doing our best to generate more trips for them, such as working with our business partners to buy taxi vouchers in bulk and working with hotels to add limousine rides from our partners to their staycation bundles. Within SMRT, all staff have been asked to take SMRT taxis for their work trips if they are using P2P services.
5. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, demand for taxi and P2P services has fallen, leading to a drop in earnings for our partners.
6. SMRT has been supporting them through these tough times, setting aside up to $4.8 million to help taxi partners from February to May. This is in addition to the $2.3 million provided by the Government through the Special Relief Fund. We are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to increase our financial support for partners if needed.
7. As announced earlier, SMRT is also waiving rental fees for our taxi partners should they be placed under quarantine by the Ministry of Health. In addition, SMRT Taxis’ Helping Hand Fund will also provide care and support to taxi partners should they be affected in the current situation by a leave of absence, quarantine order or the illness. The fund was established in 2015 to help taxi partners in need, including long-term medical care for a driver’s family member under certain circumstances.
8. Since January 2020, SMRT has also been distributing care packages to our taxi partners to safeguard their health and that of passengers. Each care package includes a pack of 10 surgical masks, a bottle of hand sanitiser, and a bottle of disinfectant. We also strongly encourage them to have their temperature taken twice a day at the screening centres we have set up.