SINGAPORE (Apr 14): ComfortDelGro’s 10,000-strong fleet of iconic blue and yellow taxis have been given a new lease of life following a plunge in ridership amid the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Come end-April, some of these taxis will double up as grocery delivery vehicles for RedMart, the online grocery arm of Lazada, which has seen a surge in requests for home deliveries. 

In a joint statement on Tuesday, both ComfortDelGro and RedMart say this collaboration will help expand RedMart’s existing delivery fleet as Singapore moves into an unprecedented period of physical distancing to stem the spread of the virus. 

“Since we started experiencing a growing surge of orders in February, we’ve worked at expanding our logistics and delivery workforce, to better satisfy the demand for an efficient grocery service,” says executive vice president of Lazada eLogistics Singapore Jamil Khan. 

“With ComfortDelGro, we are assured of a clean fleet of vehicles, as well as a pool of drivers who can help ease the delivery capacity,” adds Khan. 

Interested cabbies are currently being onboarded, and will undergo training provided by RedMart, before embarking on delivery jobs by the end of the month. 

During this trial period, drivers will pick up orders from RedMart’s warehouse located at Alexandra Terrace, before delivering them to locations within the town areas. 

“Drivers will also be trained to perform contactless deliveries and deliver orders directly to a customer’s doorstep, to maintain RedMart’s service standards,” say the duo. 

This tie-up has reportedly been made possible after the government temporarily eased point-to-point regulations in a bid to allow both taxi and private-hire car drivers to participate in delivery service trials.  

RedMart, Singapore’s largest online supermarket, had also recently reset its system to focus on core necessities and essential goods, which has allowed the group to quadruple the number of orders it can take. 

This move comes shortly after ComfortDelGro reported that its taxi business was expected to sink into the red for FY2020 ending December, denoting the first time Singapore’s largest taxi operator will post full-year losses. 

This was due to the group’s extension of daily rental relief till September 2020. The relief amounts from ComfortDelGro was initially intended to be reduced gradually in April and May. 

See: Extended rental relief measures worth $80 mil to push ComfortDelGro Taxi into the red in FY20

COO of ComfortDelGro Taxi Tommy Tan expressed his gratitude for a new job opportunity provided by RedMart. 

“The Covid-19 situation has been incredibly challenging for our cabbies and the elevated safe distancing measures will make it even worse,” says Tan. “With the big mismatch in demand and supply for food and groceries, we reached out to RedMart.”

“We have started the onboarding of drivers and have seen strong interest amongst our drivers. This will be a win-win-win situation not just for our drivers, for RedMart but for residents as well,” he adds.