SINGAPORE (Aug 12): A new licensing regime for private-hire platform operators that will kick into effect next June could level the playing field between taxi operators and ride-hailing platform providers, as well as protect drivers and consumers alike. However, some observers say the regulatory measures are broad and may need some clarity in practice. The impact will be wide: Besides the 20,000 taxis, there are about 45,000 private-hire cars on the roads today.
“The new framework seems to adopt a relatively light touch, and provides avenues to respond to industry developments going forward,” says DBS analyst Andy Sim. He is looking forward to new regulations covering accidents and service standards that will put the private-hire industry on the same level as taxis. “For instance, under the current Quality of Service standards, taxi operators have to ensure that the accident rate is not more than 0.02 per 100,000km to attain a pass,” he adds.
The new Point-to-Point Passenger Transport Industry Bill passed this week will give the Land Transport Authority (LTA) the power to set safety standards for ride-hailing platform operators. It will monitor accidents and offences of drivers on the platforms. The agency can also penalise operators through regulatory sanctions if the drivers on their platforms commit too many accidents or offences. All vehicles must undergo a yearly safety inspection. Taxis have to undergo inspection every six months.