Ride-hailing permeates our daily transport in Singapore, but there haven’t been any form of regulations to oversee firms providing these services till date.
A new bill tabled in Parliament yesterday, 8 July 2019, aims to do this.
Called the Point-To-Point (P2P) Passenger Transport Industry Bill, it proposes to issue two types of licenses that will govern street-hail taxi services and ride-hail services.
Street-hail services refer to the traditional way of flagging a taxi from the street, while ride-hail services cover any taxi or private hire drivers that must be booked.
Operators can hold two licenses if they offer both types of services, like ComfortDelGro for example.
The new bill will also give the Public Transport Council (PTC) capacity to lay out pricing policies for ride-hailing firms.
This means that in the future, firms like Grab and Gojek may have to break down the components that go into their fare calculation to provide more transparency to commuters.
They may also have to set and keep in line with minimum or maximum fare ranges.
The proposed bill reportedly reflects some of the suggestions that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) gathered from public feedback between 24 January and 21 February 2019.
Among 86 suggestions submitted, some people wanted P2P operators to be licensed, and their fares to be regulated so that firms can’t artificially lower prices as a stunt to gain market share.
Before this, the PTC only regulated bus and train fares.
Taxi fares were not regulated, but taxi companies had to inform the council when they planned to change their prices.
This new bill emerges as the Ministry of Transport is recognising how the P2P transport sector has evolved significantly in recent years thanks to the rise of ride-hailing services.
Along with providing regulatory oversight to protect the interests of riders and drivers, it also aims to facilitate an open market that supports further development and innovation in this sector.
More details will be revealed at the bill’s second reading next month.
Vulcan Post reached out to Grab and Gojek, and this is what they have to say.
Grab said it is “studying the proposed bill” and will “continue working closely with the Government to advance [the vision of a] safe, seamless, shared and smart” ride-hailing industry in Singapore.
A Gojek spokesperson echoed similar sentiments that “a policy environment that protects commuters and drivers, as well as an open and contestable market” is integral for Singapore’s position as a key market in mobility.
“Gojek is committed to a long-term presence in Singapore and we look forward to working closely with the Government to shape the future of the industry,” they added.
Featured Image Credit: Bloomberg