LTA aims to streamline rules for taxi firms, private-hire cars, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

LTA aims to streamline rules for taxi firms, private-hire cars

This article is more than 12 months old

LTA regulations will also cover firms providing pre-booked chauffeured services

The move to impose tighter regulations on private-hire operators is round the corner.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday it is proposing to license all street-hail and ride-hail operators "as they provide the same fundamental service of transporting commuters from point to point".

This is a stark change from the time when these newcomers arrived six years ago, when LTA saw them as "tech companies" and not transport providers.

The LTA said yesterday that regulations will also cover companies that provide pre-booked chauffeured services.

Observers expect changes to harmonise regulations governing taxis and private-hire players and create a more level playing field.

The LTA noted the change will be "different from today's regulatory framework, where one set of regulations apply to taxi operators that provide both street-hail and ride-hail services, and there are no uniform regulations that apply to operators that purely provide ride-hail services".

It said a new regulatory framework "will replace the existing Taxi Service Operator Licence and Third Party Booking Registration Certificate".

The LTA is also looking to improve safety but gave no details on how it will do this.

Preliminary data from motor insurers indicates road accident rates have risen since the debut of private-hire companies.

On the commercial side, the new regulatory framework will allow drivers freedom to drive for whoever they wish. It will "allow LTA to prohibit all operators from having driver exclusivity arrangements".

The Straits Times understands the Public Transport Council will eventually see that both taxi and private-hire companies adhere to the new regulations.

The LTA is seeking public feedback on the proposed changes. Those who wish to have their say can do so via, or they can send an e-mail by Feb 21.

Industry players have long highlighted the stark differences between taxis and private-hire operators such as Grab and Gojek.

These include differences pertaining to the driver's age, controlled fleet sizes, a passenger's legal recourse in the case of accidents, prescribed service standards and fares.

Singapore University of Social Sciences transport economist Walter Theseira said to ensure new rules are adhered to, the authorities need "a much tighter hand... on data and operations from the market players".

For instance, no one except Grab knows how many rides the company caters to a day.