With the rise of private cab services, LTA is not going to be left out from the fun
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) have announced today (10 June) that an initiative for private cab drivers to obtain vocational licenses is being considered. In the Singapore market, drivers operating under Uber and GrabTaxi’s GrabCar are likely to be affected.
Drivers of public cab companies rejoice at this statement, after complaints that private cab drivers — who face less regulations — have been hurting their business.
If imposed, this measure will stand as a protection initiative that the LTA is preparing to offer to passengers, and drivers of cab companies like ComfortDelGro and SMRT.
Drivers that operate for Singapore’s 5 taxi companies are currently required to hold a Taxi Operator License (TOL), which is issued by the LTA.
The vocational license requirement initiative isn’t really a new idea. In fact, LTA had been planning the framework since last year.
On 21 November 2014, the LTA announced that they will be introducing a framework that consists of 5 conditions for private cab companies to comply.
The conditions are
1. the need for private cab services to apply with the LTA
2. only dispatching drivers with vocational license
3. revealing all rates and charges with the consumer upfront
4. allowing passengers to reserve their destination upon booking
5. providing basic service feedback mechanism for passengers
The LTA stated that this intended framework that aims to level the playing field of cab services will come into effect during the second quarter of 2015.
However, as of now, measures are still not clearly elaborated on.
Nonetheless, announcement of stricter regulations from the LTA for private cab drivers already prompted reactions from several outlets.
1. Private Cab Drivers
Reactions from private cab drivers can be summarised in one picture.
Private cab drivers argue that the need to get a vocational license should not be required, as they are already being monitored by a feedback system that ensures safe and reliable rides.
2. Private Cab Companies
Private cab companies such as Uber and GrabTaxi are supportive of the new measures.
Uber weigh in that they welcome the initiative and wishes to be include in the consultation process.
GrabTaxi announced that they will be working with relevant partners to encourage their cab drivers to take up vocational licensing.
Despite the generally positive reception, we all know that deep down inside they be like —
3. National Taxi Association
The NTA responded to private cab drivers that the feedback system implemented by Uber cannot match up to the standards of having a vocational license.
The NTA further suggested that more regulations may be implemented for these private cab companies and drivers such as ensuring that the vehicles are in good working condition.
The NTA be like —
Some regulation would be good
The framework that the LTA intend to pursue aims at leveling the playing field between public and private cab services.
By ensuring a level playing field, cab services in Singapore can be expected to be more competitive and efficient.
There are some chance that the cost of regulation may be carried forward to consumers who will not be happy about any fare hikes.
However, unlike bus and trains, cab services should not be considered as a public good, rather it is a luxury service.
Luxury services like cabs should be exposed to competition so as to ensure a better and more efficient services for passengers.
With a level playing field for cab services in Singapore, all we can say is
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