SINGAPORE (Sept 10): Taxi operators and private-hire car firms who are interested in allowing their drivers to perform courier services on a limited trial basis can approach the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary told Parliament on Monday.

This was in response to questions from Ang Hin Kee, MP of Ang Mo Kio GRC and executive adviser to the National Taxi Association as well as the National Private Hire Vehicles Association. Ang had asked about the progress of calls by both associations to review regulations and allow drivers of such vehicles to provide courier services.

Dr Janil said the LTA will work with operators to assess the feasibility of a trial as well as ensure minimal impact on the availability of taxis and private-hire cars. More importantly, LTA will also ensure that commuter interests are safeguarded in the case of such a trial, such as ensuring vehicles have the appropriate third-party insurance coverage.

Last month on Aug 16, LTA issued a warning to ride-hailing firm Ryde on the same day after it announced it was launching RydeSEND on Sept 3.

See: LTA issues Ryde warning after announcement of courier service launch: Update

RydeSEND allows Ryde drivers to earn extra income by providing courier services.

RydeSEND promises to deliver small items such as documents, parcels, flowers or packed food within 60 minutes. However, the packages cannot be heavier than 20kg or bigger than 70cm by 50 cm by 50cm.

"We have warned Ryde that its proposed RydeSEND service would contravene the regulations prohibiting public service vehicles such as taxis and private-hire cars from solely conveying goods. Drivers accepting such jobs may have their vocational licences revoked," said LTA in its warning letter.

Ryde later apologised for the confusion it had caused on. Ryde said it will not tap private-hire drivers or the 3,000 cabbies it had signed up for RydeSend. Instead, it will tap private drivers to deliver the items instead.