New Bill looks to regulate private-hire car operators with licences and fare policy

New Bill looks to regulate private-hire car operators with licences and fare policy

Private Hire Car Driver - Back view for anonymity
Mr Shaun Ow, 39, is a private hire driver in Singapore. (Photo: Aaron Chong)

SINGAPORE: A new Bill tabled in Parliament on Monday (Jul 8) is seeking to regulate the private-hire car industry, which has developed rapidly since arriving in Singapore in 2013.

Put up for first reading, the Point-to-Point (P2P) Passenger Transport Industry Bill proposes to issue two operating licences – one for street-hail services and another for ride-hail services.

A street-hail service, according to the Bill, will refer to a typical taxi ride, excluding those that are booked. 

Booking services, either via a taxi operator or a private-hire car service, will fall under the category of a ride-hail service. 

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The new Bill also proposes to expand the regulatory scope of the Public Transport Council (PTC) to cover fares set by ride-hailing operators such as Grab and Gojek.

At the moment, the PTC only regulates bus and train fares. While taxi fares are not regulated, operators must inform the council if they wish to adjust fares. 

The new Bill is also looking to refine the penalty fee regime in the context of street-hail services and ride-hail services. 

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) said the P2P transport sector in Singapore, made up of the taxi and private hire car industries, has evolved significantly over the last few years.

READ: Flexibility, being your own boss, decent income - Why younger people are working as private-hire drivers

Given these changes, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has reviewed the regulations for the sector to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of Singaporeans and broader transport objectives, it added. 

The new Bill will set out a new regulatory framework for the P2P sector and enable LTA to structure regulations around services, and provide sufficient regulatory oversight to protect the safety and interests of commuters and drivers. 

It also aims to facilitate an open market that supports the development of innovative P2P services and streamline regulations where appropriate, added the MOT spokesperson.

More details will be made available at the Bill's second reading next month, said MOT.

As part of the review, LTA held a feedback exercise between Jan 24 and Feb 21, which garnered 86 suggestions from the public. 

The proposed Bill reflected some of these suggestions gathered, which included the need for all P2P operators to be licensed to ensure greater regulatory oversight of the sector.

There was also feedback on the need for P2P fares to be regulated so as to prevent operators from artificially lowering prices to gain market share, LTA said in a press release last month.

Source: CNA/sk(hs)

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