PICTURE: (Right to left) Navdeep Singh, Director Malwa Group and Ernest Berry, Driver If you’re looking for a ride home, to the shops, or to visit a friend, many of Canberra’s friendly taxi operators are back in business and ready to get you safely from A to B.
Navdeep Singh, Director of Malwa Group, has worked in the Canberra taxi industry for more than a decade.
“I love so much about Canberra, my favourite things are its modern design and that it is a family-oriented city,” he said.
Like many local industries, Navdeep’s taxi business was impacted by COVID-19.
“At first l was depressed and wondered how I would survive as my family, workshop and drivers all rely on my business.”
But with support from his family, friends and the ACT Government, Navdeep is now optimistic that things are looking up.
“The Government helped the taxi industry a lot with the one off $5000 payment and allowing us to re-establish our cars without a roadworthy check if they had passed an inspection in the previous nine months."
“I’m able to stay in business because of this support. I am even starting to relax and enjoy some time with my family again.”
Navdeep says that that taxi drivers are doing everything they can to support the safety of their customers.
“My first priority is to keep my taxis hygienic and clean by wiping door handles and surfaces frequently, as well as sanitising seats after every use."
“I have asked my drivers to request all customers use hand sanitiser before they enter the car, to sit in the back seat, and also pay with debit or credit cards where possible to avoid handling cash."
“Most Canberrans are really appreciative of the care we are taking and have responded well to these changes."
“Drivers are also using hand sanitiser regularly, have tissues for themselves or customers if they need them, and take time off if they are feeling unwell.”
Reflecting on this challenging time for taxi drivers and the broader community, Navdeep is grateful for the spirit with which everyone is embracing the uncertainty and change.
“I want to acknowledge all the drivers who are providing a 24 hour essential public transport service during the pandemic. I hope Canberrans feel confident about using taxi services when they need to. We are doing everything we can to ensure you and our drivers are safe, and we need your support as local small businesses.”
To find out more about what supports are in place for local businesses during COVID-19 visit www.COVID19@act.gov.au