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Four ride-hailing firms bag operating licences from LTA

Four ride-hailing firms bag operating licences from LTA

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3 -min read
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SINGAPORE'S Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded ride-hail service operator licences to Grab, Gojek, TADA and ComfortDelGro under the Point-to-Point (P2P) Passenger Transport Industry Act.

Grab has also snagged a car-pool service operator licence. The two licences have a three-year validity period.

Ride-hailing service Ryde Technologies got a one-year provisional ride-hailing licence and car-pool licence. This will allow Ryde to fine tune its operational capabilities in order to meet regulatory standards for safety and service provision before it is considered for the full licences, LTA said on Friday.

Under the new P2P regulatory framework, P2P operators with 800 or more vehicles on their platforms will be licensed based on the type of services they provide.

Licensees must comply with the conditions of their licences, including meeting LTA's safety standards and ensuring that partnership arrangements with drivers are non-exclusive.

In view of the higher safety standards, Grab on Friday said it will work towards having an age limit of 10 years for private-hire cars by July 1, 2022. To help drivers with the transition, it will assemble a panel of fleet partners to assist drivers who wish to buy or rent a suitable vehicle, or sell their current one.

From Jan 1 next year, drivers with private-hire cars that are seven years old or older will also have to attend a vehicle safety and maintenance course. The course fees are supported by SkillsFuture Singapore and subsidised by Grab.

Existing taxi operators have been automatically transitioned from the existing taxi service operator licence to the new street-hail service operator licence. Street-hail service operators also received a limited ride-hailing licence for taxi call-booking services.

The new regulations state that all operators of street-hail and ride-hail trips must publish the booking charges, metered charges per distance and other additional surcharges to commuters.

For fixed-fare ride-hail trips, operators need to let commuters know the fare for the trip at the point of booking and publish the amount for any additional charges that may be incurred. An example of an additional charge is a fee for unplanned extra stops.

With the new regulatory framework, the Public Transport Council will be able to enforce against fare evasion and overcharging by drivers on trips booked through licensed ride-hail service operators.

Andrew Chan, managing director for transport at Grab Singapore, said: "We welcome and support the intent of the new P2P regulations, and the start of the new licensing regime. We believe it will help to ensure higher safety standards in the industry while facilitating a fair, open and contestable market that encourages innovation among the different players to better serve the needs of commuters."

Lien Choong Luen, general manager of Gojek Singapore, said the company welcomes the clause allowing all taxi drivers to sign up with any ride-hailing platform to provide fixed-fare rides.

"These drivers will be able to enjoy an additional source of earnings by completing trips booked via the ride-hail app, while they continue to take on street-hail jobs," he said.

"Ride-hail customers can also enjoy a more reliable ride-hail experience by virtue of an enlarged supply pool, which means higher availability of drivers and shorter waiting times."

Riders and drivers can expect more from operators under the new licensing regime, said Jonathan Chua, general manager of Tada in South-east Asia.

"With a greater focus on safety and a higher level of accountability from operators, we look forward to a more robust and vibrant point-to-point ecosystem," he said.

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