New private hire drivers must be Singaporeans of age 30 and above to apply for licence

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
File photo of cars in Tanjong Pagar in Singapore. COE: 6 July 2018 (PHOTO: Abdul Rahman Azhari/Yahoo News Singapore)
File photo of cars in Tanjong Pagar in Singapore. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — All new private-hire drivers must be Singaporeans who are 30 years old and above with at least one year’s driving experience to apply for their vocational license, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Tuesday (15 September).

The revisions are to fully align the eligibility criteria for the Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) and the Taxi-Driver’s Vocational Licence (TDVL), the LTA said.

All PDVL applications received before 5.30pm on 15 September will continue to be processed under the previous eligibility criteria.

Existing PDVL holders who are below 30 years old or are Singapore permanent residents will not be affected by the new rule.

“The proportion of PHC (private hire car) drivers below 30 years old is small and PHC operators have shared that the majority of them are driving part-time. They will be able to continue providing PHC services so long as they renew their PDVLs before expiry,” the LTA said.

Meanwhile, the government will set aside an additional $112 million to extend the Point-to-Point Support Package (PPSP) to provide further support for the P2P sector.

Many taxi and PHC drivers are “understandably concerned” about their livelihoods, the LTA said. While the resumption of some activities in Phase Two has increased the demand for taxis and PHCs, ridership remains around 70 per cent lower and trips are shorter, resulting in lower fares per trip, compared with pre-COVID levels. P2P ridership is unlikely to return to pre-COVID levels in the near term, according to the LTA.

Of the $112 million, $106 million will be for a six-month extension of the Special Relief Fund (SRF) to March 2021. The SRF helps active taxi and PHC drivers defray business costs by providing monthly payouts of $300 per vehicle per month.

Drivers who are currently receiving SRF payouts will continue to receive SRF payouts during the extended period. Over 40,000 P2P drivers are expected to qualify for the extended SRF. Taxi operators will continue providing matching rental rebates worth an additional $29 million to their hirers.

The government will also extend the liberalisation of P2P rules to allow the use of taxis and PHCs for delivery services for another year until end September 2021. “Taxi and PHC drivers have also shared that this has helped them and have asked that the scheme be continued,” said the LTA.

In March, LTA announced a special relief of $2,200 per unhired taxi over a six-month period to help taxi operators defray the cost of their unhired fleet. LTA will extend this relief for a further six months to March 2021 at a cost of $4.6 million.

LTA will also extend the nine-month operator licence fee waiver by a further three months, at a cost of about $1.2 million.

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