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THE Ministry of Transport (MOT) will study third-party ride-booking apps such as GrabTaxi and Uber, and where justified, level the playing field between private-hire drivers using these apps and taxi drivers, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on his blog on Friday.
"I have asked Senior Minister of State Ng Chee Meng to take on this assignment, consult our taxi drivers and the general public, and forge a fair solution," added Mr Khaw.
He was responding to concerns by a number of taxi drivers who had informed him during the recent General Election campaign that "UberX is unfair". The latter is the private car hire service of Uber, where its drivers, unlike taxi drivers, do not require a vocational licence to provide on-demand transport services.
"While taxi drivers welcome competition, they demand that the playing field be level. I think our taxi drivers have a point," Mr Khaw noted.
Meanwhile, he urged Singaporeans to be open to new innovations and new business models. "Our instinct must be to flow with the time, keep an open mind to innovations," he said, pointing out that GrabTaxi, Uber and the like have made it easier for commuters to call a taxi, leading to better resource utilisation and consumer welfare.
"But we must always be fair to players, whether incumbent or insurgents, and strike a balanced approach," he wrote on his blog.