The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the practices of many industries. With a shift in consumer lifestyles, for instance, reduced commute and need for social distancing, many businesses have taken a hit during this chaotic time.
Whether it’s before or during the pandemic, many were interested in the Grab or Gojek driver sign up to earn a living or just the extra cash. But, as a private hire driver now, you may have worries about being exposed to the virus since you will remain in close contact with your passengers or face a pay cut with the reduced demand for trips.
It may be difficult for businesses to survive in this unprecedented time with its raging uncertainties. But fret not; with these four tips, you will be able to keep your private hire work going as you continue with your job safely.
1. Keep up with the latest private hire regulations
As the pandemic changes its course and new variants pose new challenges, the government will impose new rules to ensure the safety of all drivers and passengers. From 10 August 2021 onwards, private-hire cars and taxis are allowed to carry up to 5 passengers to reduce interaction and transmission. Drivers and passengers alike have to keep your mask on at all times; only pick up passengers who obey current safety precautions.
It may be overwhelming to stay up to date as you are always on the go. These measures are constantly evolving, but turning on notifications from dedicated news channels will come in handy for compiling these updates. Keeping up to date with the latest rules and news will help you gauge the severity of the pandemic as you remain informed on all necessary precautions.
2. Look into other uses of your private hire vehicle
With reduced commute by the nation, getting enough earnings from rides and utilising your vehicle can be tough. But, there are other ways to use your car and fulfil both of these needs. Consider using your vehicle to deliver food (e.g. Grab Food, Deliveroo, Food Panda) or perform courier delivery (e.g. Ninja Van, UParcel, Lalamove).
This way, you can use your vehicle to receive other sources of income. However, bear in mind that apart from GrabExpress and GrabFood, LTA does not allow private hire drivers to use their vehicles exclusively for transporting goods.
3. Distinguish between peak and non-peak periods
Knowing how to maximise your working hours is a good tip as you kick-start your private hire journey. Typically, drivers work an average of 12 to 14 hours a day to secure enough trips to cover their rental and fuel costs. However, working long hours can cause road fatigue, on top of the need to wear a mask for prolonged periods.
Instead, it might be better to work 6-hour shifts with breaks in-between. It’s also a smart move to cover the peak periods on weekdays from 6am-9am and 5pm-7pm. For weekends, the demand for rides are typically between 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm. Working during these timeslots would mean maximising your earnings. If you’re dabbling into food delivery, be proactive during lunch and dinner timings to serve more customers.
4. Choose an economical vehicle for your rides
While you might be eyeing a luxurious MPV as your private hire vehicle, consider a more economical car rental as a more affordable option. Choose from an array of economy car rentals in Singapore, one that has a smaller passenger capacity but is easy to maintain.
Moreover, hybrid cars are fast becoming a popular option for drivers as they are more fuel-efficient than non-hybrid vehicles. Hybrid cars utilise both fuel and electricity to offer you increased efficiency and more cost savings in the long term.
5. Minimise contact and frequently disinfect your vehicle
As a driver, you will want to provide the smoothest journey with the warmest service for your passengers. But, during this pandemic, it’s best to keep your interactions to a minimum.
You can minimise direct contact with the help of technology and other tools. For example, perspex dividers can be purchased and attached to your seat to reduce contact between you and your passengers. Encourage contactless payment by opting for in-app transactions. Likewise, when delivering food or goods, reduce direct contact by leaving your customers’ items outside their door and utilising in-app payment instead.
Whether you’re using your own vehicle, or a Grab or Gojek rental car, practise social responsibility by disinfecting your vehicle before, in-between rides and after use. The virus lasts up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, so it is paramount to clean frequently used surfaces to slow the transmission of viruses.
The door handles, windows, seats, and gearstick are some areas you should take note of aside from your steering wheel. For optimum cleaning, use a microfibre cloth and a suitable cleaning agent. Isopropyl alcohol is popular among carmakers as a safe choice to disinfect car parts. Remember to wash your microfibre cloth after your shift and stock up on disinfectants.
Similar to many businesses, the private hire industry has taken a hit during this pandemic. However, it is safe to say that private hire drivers are here to stay with the popularity of ride-hailing and food delivery services. Rest assured that with the possibility of relaxed measures and latest government incentives, the private hire route is still a viable source of income.
If you’re looking to sign up as a new private hire driver, or make a switch to a different car than the one you are driving, check out our private hire car rentals at Cars and Trips! We provide a wide selection of vehicles across many locations in Singapore and at great prices to meet your needs.