1. The National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) and National Taxi Association (NTA) jointly launched a pop-up care centre for point-to-point drivers at Downtown East, Begonia Terrace.
2. The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the livelihoods of drivers in the point-to-point industry. Ridership has plummeted, and the earnings of drivers have dropped significantly. Drivers can head to the pop-up care centre for assistance with application of NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19), NTUC Training Fund (SEPs), find out more about other forms of immediate assistance, as well as explore other job options to retain their income.
Alternative Job Options for Point-to-Point Drivers
3. To support drivers in retaining their income, NTUC is working with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), affiliated unions and associations, as well as business owners to match drivers to alternative job options.
4. For a start, NTUC linked up Fei Siong Group1 with SMRT Taxis to provide SMRT cabbies with additional transport jobs. Due to the tightening of measures to combat the COVID-19 situation, Fei Siong Group experienced a drop in customer footfall at its food and beverage (F&B) outlets, as with most F&B businesses. However, they recognised a demand in the online food delivery business to cater to the residents who are staying home. They decided to launch a trial food delivery service on their platform so that they can continue to serve food from their food outlets to these households. SMRT Taxis will provide the necessary transport services for Fei Siong Group.
5. Our earnings have been greatly affected since COVID-19 started. This additional option will help me to supplement the loss of income. I hope that there can be more of such job opportunities made available to more drivers,” shared Mr Vincent Lee, a SMRT taxi partner.
6. Managing Director of Fei Siong Group, Mr Tan Kim Siong shared: “We are heartened to work with NTUC and SMRT taxis on this key initiative. It will enable us to continue serving our locals with quality hawker food at affordable pricing through the food delivery model amidst the COVID 19 situation. There will be no markup of prices for the food items and delivery charges are absorbed as well.”
7. “During this challenging time, SMRT has been exploring options and ways to provide more jobs for our taxi partners, including providing delivery services. This initiative allows us to implement a new business model for our partners. We are working closely with NTUC and e2i to support the Fei Siong Group as they help their employees undergo career transformation and protect their livelihoods.” said Mr Tony Heng, Senior Vice President, SMRT Road Holdings.
8. “Even though driver earnings are being impacted by the COVID-19 situation, we still see pockets of opportunities where our drivers can come in to provide the necessary transport services and be paid for it. One good example is the tie-up between SMRT Taxis and Fei Siong Group. We foresee more of such opportunities as more residents are staying home. This means that there will be growing demand for food delivery or even delivery of groceries. More operators can come in to augment such services, benefiting more drivers,” said Mr Ang Hin Kee, Advisor of the National Taxi Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association.
9. The pop-up care centre for drivers will feature a physical career fair by NTUC’s e2i with some 500 vacancies from participating employers such as NTUC FairPrice, SBS Transit and SMRT amongst others. Drivers can apply for temporary, contract or permanent positions for temperature screening, dengue support, and bus captains etc.
10. At the same time, e2i will be mobilising workers to fill roles needed by public agencies under the SGUnited Jobs initiative. While drivers are waiting for their interviews at the career fair, they will be assisted to learn to navigate a new Virtual Career Fair which was launched as part of the SGUnited Jobs initiative. Going forward, more job seekers would be directed to the online space to look for jobs due to the tightening of safe distancing measures.
11. “NTUC’s e2i has been mobilising our networks – working with associations, agencies and unions to match job vacancies with job seekers, including workers affected by COVID-19. We are curating temporary, contract and permanent positions across sectors as quickly as possible to minimise downtime of workers. In this mode of business unusual, we encourage businesses to look into alternative solutions that can enable the redeployment of workers while contributing to business value. For instance, we partnered with Fei Siong and SMRT, both of which were open to pilot a model of joint partnership in food delivery services. In a crisis as such, we want to help workers to save their jobs and minimise any potential loss of income,” said Mr Gilbert Tan, CEO of e2i.
Application of Care and Training Assistance at Pop Up Centre
12. Drivers providing point-to-point services can also seek assistance at the pop-up centre for the following:
|Immediate Relief Support NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19)||Immediate Relief Support Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund||Training Support NTUC Training Fund (SEPs)|
|NTUC Members||Up to $300 for eligible union members||One-off $300 for private hire drivers who do not qualify for Government’s Special Relief Fund and suffer from hardship||Up to $8.50/hour of training allowance|
|Others||NA||$7.50/hour of training allowance|
Refer to Annex B for details, terms and conditions.
NTUC and its affiliated unions and associations respect and will observe all necessary safety and social distancing measures as per advised by the Government. Drivers are advised to email the driver associations if they are uncomfortable with heading down to the pop-up care centre. The physical set up seeks to provide assistance to drivers who might have difficulty assessing information that is available online. More details are available on www.ntuc.org.sg/carecentrefordrivers.