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LTA Gives Green Light For Taxi And Private-Hire Firms To Offer Courier Services With "Limited Trial"

On 15 August 2018, local private-hailing firm Ryde announced that it is expanding into the delivery arena to offer door-to-door courier services with a new RydeSEND feature.

With this new service, users can book a Ryde driver to help deliver small items like documents, parcels, flowers, or even meals within 60 minutes.

But the very next day, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has stepped up to say that private-hire drivers in Singapore are not allowed to do such delivery jobs.

According to the law, taxis and private-hire cars are only meant to carry passengers and drivers who accept such jobs will risk getting their vocational licenses revoked.

Firms Can Now Approach LTA To Seek Approval

Fast forward about a month later, the tune has changed and Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said in Parliament that taxi companies and private-hire operators can now approach LTA to perform courier services on a limited trial basis.

Dr Puthucheary said that LTA will work with operators to “assess the feasibility of a trial [and] how it should be scoped to ensure minimal impact on P2P (peer-to-peer) availability.”

Taxi and private-hire cars should remain available to provide point-to-point services for commuters, he asserted.

LTA will also work to ensure that the necessary conditions are in place to safeguard commuter interests during such trials, such as making sure that the vehicles have the appropriate third-party insurance coverage.

Ryde for instance, imposes a S$100 insurance coverage against lost or damaged items to assure a safe and secure delivery.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC), who is also executive advisor to the National Taxi Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association, said that this announcement is a positive move that “offers a regulatory sandbox option“.

He had previously said that there is excess capacity during off-peak hours, so this courier service can help both taxi and private-hire drivers to earn extra income by taking up such delivery jobs.

Following this announcement, a Ryde spokesperson told TODAY that the company will be submitting a proposal for RydeSEND to the LTA by the end of this week.

Featured Image Credit: GG Couriers

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