ComfortDelGro cabs can now deliver meds amid surge in demand
Drivers need to undergo online training before they can start
Public healthcare institutions can now tap ComfortDelGro taxi drivers to deliver medicine to patients with pre-existing conditions who require regular top-ups, amid a tenfold surge in demand for medication delivery since January.
ComfortDelGro Taxi said yesterday that drivers will need to undergo online training before they can start delivering medicine to patients' homes.
"They are to also ensure all medication is transported in accordance to the temperature requirements," said the firm, the largest taxi operator here with a fleet of about 10,000 taxis.
"They will also be taught to ensure the parcels are kept away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture... Upon delivery, cabbies have to verify the identity of the recipient before signing off on behalf of the recipient to minimise contact."
The new ComfortDelGro service is in partnership with the Agency for Logistics and Procurement Services (Alps), a healthcare logistics firm set up by the National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said as of May 27, Alps has worked with the public healthcare institutions to make more than 63,800 deliveries, or an average of close to 3,200 deliveries a day, for the month.
This is up from 7,600 deliveries, or an average of 320 deliveries a day, in January.
Other than ComfortDelGro, other new delivery partners include Keppel Logistics and SingPost.
MOH said all deliveries follow guidelines on the supply and delivery of medication. "The medications must not be exposed to adverse conditions such as unacceptable temperature, light and moisture, and the vendors must put in place measures for the medication to be secured against spillage and breakage and to prevent theft and loss."
Delivery costs usually range from $4 to $20, depending on the volume of medication and speed of delivery.
Professor Chng Wee Joo, director of the National University Cancer Institute, said it has arranged more deliveries since the Covid-19 outbreak, and an additional delivery option is good "as long as it comes at an affordable cost".
ComfortDelGro said its delivery fees are charged by the distance travelled, with a starting fee of $6.50 for up to the first 3km. The cabbies will keep all of the fees.
The public healthcare institutions will book the service via the ComfortDelivery platform, which has almost 2,000 drivers.
The expansion of the firm's delivery service comes after the Land Transport Authority extended the temporary liberalisation of restrictions on such services till end-September.
Taxi driver Jade Cho, 46, who has been delivering food and has signed up to deliver medicine, said she is glad to have an extra option to increase her earnings.
"I was so stressed out at the start of April, when the situation was very bad. I could wait at the mall or drive around for hours without getting a passenger. But now it is the end of circuit breaker and there is an additional job option... it's still not like before, but we can manage."