Singapore – Minister for Transport (MOT), Khaw Boon Wan, “temporarily liberalised” point-to-point transport (P2P) regulations and announced that taxi and private-hire drivers would be allowed to participate in delivery services amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Khaw took to Facebook on Sunday (March 29) to announce the changes being made available to taxi and Private Hire Car (PHC) operators as a move to meet growing demand and supplement income. The tighter safe distancing measures and the increase in work from home and telecommuting options have heightened the demand for home deliveries, specifically for food and groceries, Mr Khaw noted.
“Anecdotally, it has gotten difficult to obtain a delivery slot across the various online grocery platforms.”
The MOT has observed a decline in the fulfillment rates for online food deliveries which are expected to worsen as the demand for home deliveries increases as more individuals are urged to work from home in the coming weeks. To close the gap, taxi and PHC drivers are being given the opportunity to accept home delivery requests.
Mr Khaw said that the ongoing limited trial with Grab for the expansion would be extended to other operators in the sector. “We were concerned about such service affecting the traditional passenger service and contributing to traffic jam,” said Mr Khaw. “But this is an unusual time, with reduced demand for P2P and less traffic on the road.”
“We have therefore decided to expand the Grab trial and will continue to avail this option to taxi and other PHC operators to allow their drivers to participate in such delivery service, if they wish.”
The decision aims to help taxi and private-hire drivers make ends meet by providing supplementary income while addressing the increased home delivery demand.
The temporary ease of P2P regulations is effective immediately until the end of June 2020.
Members from the online community were delighted at the news and commended the “good idea,” given the increasing losses being incurred by private-hire and taxi drivers.
Others provided more suggestions to help with the situation such as reducing or suspending ERP toll collections or allowing the drivers to also engage in supermarket home deliveries.
Meeting Demand and Supplementing IncomeWith tighter safe distancing measures, working from home and tele-commuting,…