With the proliferation of private hire vehicle services, there’s been a raging debate over the legitimacy of such practices, and concerns from taxi drivers. Evidently, this new development in our local transport scene is something that will impact both commuters and transport service providers.
In a bid to level the playing field between taxi services and private hire vehicle services, the National Taxi Association (NTA) had shared a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Transport on 16 November this year.
Sharing his thoughts on the matter, Senior Minister of State, Ng Chee Meng, shared the following on his Facebook page:
“I met with leaders from the National Taxi Association (NTA) last month to understand the concerns of taxi drivers. Their frank sharing helped me better understand the challenges our drivers face on the roads every day. Today, I met more taxi drivers, who shared with me their concerns regarding private hire car services, such as UberX and GrabCar. The NTA also submitted recommendations on how to improve taxi and private hire car services.
I am glad that NTA is looking beyond the taxi industry, and has even recommended how we can improve the safety and service quality of the private hire car industry. We already have a well-regulated taxi industry and improving the safety and quality of the private hire car industry can only be good for commuters, as they will now have more than just one option for their point to point travel needs.
In the coming months, I will also meet other stakeholders, such as commuters and private hire car drivers, to hear their concerns. This will help me better understand different perspectives and we can then make more holistic decisions that benefit commuters while taking care of drivers’ well-being.
LTA also briefed me recently about the Taxi Availability Standards. Currently, the penalties for taxi companies that do not meet the TA standards are calculated using the lower 2014 TA standards, and the earlier intention was to use the higher 2015 TA standards come January 2016. However, I have asked the LTA to maintain the status quo for now, as we continue with the public consultation to determine the best way forward.”