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How SMRT Helped Taxi Partners during the COVID-19 Crisis

SMRT Taxis is one of the largest taxi operators in Singapore. It boasts a large fleet of eco-friendly taxis, multi-purpose vehicles, London cabs, and standard taxis in the country. SMRT Taxis also has 30 wheelchair-enabled London cabs, 100 taxis installed with Automated External Defibrillators, and 600 Prius Hybrid taxis. The organization has been in the taxi business for more than 30 years. It believes that the growth of its taxi services is a result of the combined effort of its partners and the SMRT team. That’s why SMRT always supports its taxi partners and constantly look for ways to improve their driving experience.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for taxi services declined and it affected the earnings of taxi partners. SMRT came out in support of its taxi partners during these tough times. Here are the steps that have been taken by SMRT Taxis to help its taxi drivers financially amid the corona virus crisis.

• From February to September 2020, the company has committed to offer rental rebates of up to $23 million to its taxi partners. SMRT gave a S$ 55 daily rental rebate to drivers in April 2020, which included S$10 from the Government’s Special Relief Fund. Each eligible, full-time hirer was provided $20 to each driver under the special relief fund from February 14, 2020 to April 6, 2020. They got additional financial support of $15 from February 21 to March 31, 2020 and $10 from April 1-6, 2020. When the government closed entertainment venues due to the COVID-19 outbreak, SMRT provided $25 to taxi partners from March 27 to 6 April 6, 2020. During the circuit breaker period, SMRT announced full a rental waiver for drivers (from April 7 to June 1, 2020). As Singapore began to re-open and the government lifted the circuit breaker in June 2020, SMRT extended the special relief fund of $25 to its taxi partners from June 2 to September 25, 2020.

• It waived rental fees for cab partners who were placed under quarantine by the Ministry of Health.

• SMRT Taxis’ Helping Hand Fund provided, and is providing, support to taxi partners who had to undergo quarantine, follow stay-home notice, or suffered from the illness. The same fund is used to provide long-term medical care to a driver’s family during special circumstances.

• SMRT partnered with many food and beverage operators, such as Fei Siong Group, KFC, Pizza Hut, GrabFood, and GrabExpress, on delivery orders. In April 2020, it recruited 400 drivers to support its delivery collaborations and aimed to recruit 500 more drivers to help them get delivery jobs.

• In April 2020, SMRT worked with business partners and got them to buy taxi vouchers in bulk quantities. It asked hotels to add limousines driven by SMRT partners to their staycation bundles.

• In March 2020, SMRT announced that it has started a special programme for its taxi partners and point-to-point service partners to help them get short-term jobs. The company will also help successful applicants to get the necessary training to become Bus Captains in SMRT Buses.

• The organization provided 1,800 care packages to its taxi partners from January-March 2020. The package included face masks, a hand sanitiser, and a bottle of disinfectant.

Commenting on the financial support provided by the company to taxi drivers during the COVID-19 crisis, SMRT Group CEO Neo Kian Hong said, “We have also helped our taxi and private hire partners and retail property tenants by giving them rental rebates to tide over this difficult period. COVID-19 has brought the Company together and it has served as an impetus to drive change.”

SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming commented, “We will continue to invest in our People and Technology. Kaizen and continuous improvement efforts will also be deepened at the individual, system, and company levels.”

Conclusion

Group CEO Neo Kian Hong, SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming, and the team of SMRT Taxis have shown great care and wisdom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial assistance, resources, and support provided by SMRT helped to maintain the financial wellness of its taxi partners during difficult times. As a leading multi-modal public transport operator, SMRT continues to work hard to ensure the safety of its staff and partners, improve customer journeys, and protect the health and well-being of the community.

About the Author

Simona works as a Vice President at a leading multinational company in Singapore. She is an avid reader and likes to share her opinion on anything related to community, technology, public transport services, restaurants, etc.

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