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Taxi drivers struggling to make ends meet during Covid-19 outbreak

Taxi driver Peter Quek said that these days people would rather use their extra cash to purchase masks instead of continuing their regular lifestyles

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Singapore – Taxi drivers are sharing their experiences on the road amid the Covid-19 outbreak with many hoping the expansionary support measures introduced by the 2020 Budget would be enough.

A look into the Facebook page of Singapore Taxi Drivers would show the numerous frontline workers feeling the hardships of the ongoing virus outbreak.

There are “three types of taxi drivers in the best position to survive the current situation,” wrote Peter Quek on February 20. “Retirees who just require some daily allowance, TDs with deep pocket savings and TDs who adopt a sustainable driving schedule and lifestyle in normal time (or those with some form of an extra allowance to make ends meet).”

Mr Quek shared that although he belonged in the third category, he experienced tight competition the past five years on the job. He noted how a ‘positive mindset’, discipline, perseverance and humility helped him in the past to stay afloat regardless of the tight competition.

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“This time around it is no longer the same because we are thin out on all perks, we are no longer risk-resilient,” said Mr Quek.

In his post, he included a photo illustrating a day on the job. “Four hours on the road, and this is the outcome. Almost 110 km travelled.”

“Since the day after DORSCON Orange, it started to drop by the day,” added Mr Quek. He wondered how taxi drivers could stay positive during this situation. “Load people with cash?” he asked. He noted how people nowadays would rather use their extra cash to purchase masks instead of continuing their regular lifestyles.

Posted by Peter Quek on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Kenny Heng shared his experience of a trip from Commonwealth Crescent to Changi Airport that included a hefty tax deduction.

This is really really too much! $24 fare become $16.50 – levy.

Posted by Kenny Heng on Friday, February 21, 2020

“If ComfortDelGro (CDG) don’t give lower fares, this job will only appear on Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) platforms,” replied Andy Loh. “So think of it as a bonus. (I have been brainwashing myself lately…)” he added.

Photo: FB screengrab/ Singapore Taxi Drivers

Many are feeling the extra weight of these deductions on the already challenging situation.

Photo: FB screengrab/ Singapore Taxi Drivers

Others suggested that becoming a night relief driver could earn more.

Photo: FB screengrab/ Singapore Taxi Drivers

Many, however, are choosing to stay positive, amid the hours of zero customers. Vincent Low Kin Heng posted the following on February 22:

Photo: FB screengrab/ Singapore Taxi Drivers

Photo: FB screengrab/ Singapore Taxi Drivers

He reiterated that “times are bad” yet “all must try ways to survive and not just keep complaining and asking for rental rebates.” He included a message to both taxi drivers and CDG management.

Even Mr Quek experienced a good day on February 23 where he took some time off for a quick break after a few back-to-back trips. “Market is weak, but not dead. Jiayou!” wrote the taxi driver.

Posted by Peter Quek on Sunday, February 23, 2020

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