Petrol duty hike: Singapore taxi drivers to get road tax rebates via rent discounts from March

Taxi operators will pass on the full 15 per cent road tax rebate to drivers in the form of rental rebates for petrol and petrol-hybrid taxis, the Land Transport Authority said. — TODAY pic
Taxi operators will pass on the full 15 per cent road tax rebate to drivers in the form of rental rebates for petrol and petrol-hybrid taxis, the Land Transport Authority said. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Feb 25 — Taxi drivers affected by the new petrol duty hike will get their road tax rebates as early as next month instead of August as originally planned, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday.

This is because LTA has worked with the taxi and some private-hire car operators and their respective unions to bring forward the rebates through other formats such as rental rebates.

Ride-hailing firm Grab yesterday pledged to pass on the full road tax rebate starting in April to drivers who rent petrol and petrol-hybrid cars from it or some of its recommended fleet partners.

Gojek has committed to introduce more incentive rebates for their drivers in March and April 2021, LTA said.”We urge all vehicle lessors to pass on the road tax rebates to their lessees, who are incurring the higher petrol costs.” 

On top of the road tax rebates, the extra petrol duty rebates for taxi and private-hire car drivers that was earlier announced to be introduced by mid-2021 will be given out in May, the authority said.

LTA’s announcement comes after some taxi and private-hire car drivers said that the Government’s raising of petrol duties by 10 to 15 cents a litre would hurt their livelihoods, especially at a time when their earnings have taken a beating from the Covid-19 pandemic.

To help cushion the impact of the petrol duty hike, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget speech last Tuesday that there will be a one-year road tax rebate of 15 per cent for cars using petrol and a petrol duty rebate of S$360 for active taxi and private-hire car drivers.

LTA was due to release more details on these rebates in April.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Transport, noted that some motorists, particularly those who rely on their vehicles on their livelihoods, have shared their concerns about the petrol duty hike.

“We have worked with the unions and operators to bring forward some of the support measures, to help ease the transition for active taxi and private-hire car drivers, as well as individual owners of smaller motorcycles,” she wrote.

“Taken together, the road tax rebates and the additional petrol duty rebates will help offset about one year of petrol duty increases for taxis, private-hire cars and motorcycles.”

Road tax rebates

Taxi operators will pass on the full 15 per cent road tax rebate to drivers in the form of rental rebates for petrol and petrol-hybrid taxis, LTA said.

They will receive this from mid-March to April.Grab will pass on the road tax rebates in April to drivers who rent cars from Grab’s rental arm GrabRentals and fleet partners Lion City Rental, Auto Exchange Leasing, MS Carz Leasing, Reliable Rides and Roset Limousine Services.

A Grab representative said, however, that details on how the rebate will be passed on has not yet been firmed up and will be announced later.

In response to TODAY’s queries about its incentive rebates for drivers as part of the distribution of the road tax rebate, Gojek referred to a post on its website yesterday that announced a fuel rebate package starting next month.

This includes an extra 3 per cent monthly fuel rebate for all drivers who meet a minimum number of trips and fuel spending and a higher cap on weekly fuel rebates.

Petrol duty rebates

Active drivers of petrol and petrol-hybrid taxis and private-hire cars will receive more petrol duty rebates over four months from May to August totalling S$360, LTA said.

To get these rebates, drivers — including taxi relief drivers — must complete an average of at least 200 trips a month between January and April. Drivers eligible for the Covid-19 driver relief fund also qualify.

No application is required and drivers who meet the criteria will be notified by their operators.

Motorcycle rebates

Giving details on the road tax and the additional petrol duty rebates for motorcycles,

LTA said that motorcycle owners will receive their 60 per cent road tax rebate for one year from Aug 1, this year to July 31 next year.

The additional petrol duty rebate, eligible for individual owners of petrol and petrol-hybrid motorcycles with engine capacity of up to 400cc, will be given out in cash progressively from mid-May via interbank payment system Giro or digital payment mode PayNow.

The owners need not submit an application and will be notified via phone text messaging when the payment has been credited to their bank accounts.

The petrol duty rebate will be paid to eligible motorcycle owners who have registered their vehicles by February 16.

Owners with more than one motorcycle will receive road tax rebates for each motorcycle, but only one payout of the petrol duty rebate.

LTA said that those who wish to receive the additional petrol duty rebate through Giro should ensure their bank account details are updated on its website by May 15. — TODAY

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