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Singapore private car hire drivers to be licensed

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To better protect commuter interests, in particular their safety, drivers of ride-hailing apps like Uber and GrabCar will require a licence by the first half of 2017, while their private hire cars will have to be registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

TO better protect commuter interests, in particular their safety, drivers of ride-hailing apps like Uber and GrabCar will require a licence by the first half of 2017, while their private hire cars will have to be registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Regulations for private hire car drivers and vehicles come after a review of the chauffeured services industry, such as the services provided by UberX and GrabCar, and engagement with stakeholders such as commuters, taxi drivers, private hire car drivers, taxi companies, car rental companies and chauffeured services booking providers.

Under the new regulations, all drivers who wish to provide chauffeured services have to apply for and obtain a Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL). Private hire cars used to provide chauffeured services will need to be registered with the LTA.

Both the PDVL and a tamper-evident decal will have to be displayed prominently to assure commuters.

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The LTA will take action against unregistered cars providing chauffeured services and private hire cars that engage in unpermitted activities such as picking up passengers via street-hail.

Anyone with a Class 3/3A driving licence with at least two years' experience can apply for a PDVL after undergoing a medical examination and a background screening.

Private hire car drivers must either be employed as a driver in a limousine company, or be registered as an owner of a chauffeured services company.

Only Singaporeans can be registered owners of a chauffeured services company; this is similar to the policy for self-employed taxi drivers. Those who are not Singapore citizens have to be an employee of a limousine company.

Applicants must attend a 10-hour-long PDVL course and pass the requisite tests, after which there is a refresher course every six years.

They will be subject to a demerit point system called the Vocational Licence Points System (VLPS).

Taxi drivers with a Taxi Driver Vocational Licence (TDVL) who want to convert to a PDVL require only a two-hour briefing on the regulations for chauffeured services.

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