Competition between taxis, GrabCar, Uber should be fair

I agree that regulatory requirements should be introduced for GrabCar and Uber drivers ("GrabCar, Uber drivers may need vocational licence soon"; last Thursday).

Some examples include requiring GrabCar and Uber drivers to have taxi driver vocational driving licences, decals for easy identification and security, thorough and methodical screening of prospective drivers and a register of all vehicles operating under the GrabCar and Uber networks.

A framework should also be introduced to monitor each driver's safety performance, accident records, working hours, service performance and fare charges.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) should reprimand errant GrabCar and Uber drivers in the same manner that it does for registered taxi drivers and not leave commuters to resolve disputes with GrabCar or Uber drivers under private contract laws.

The LTA must monitor the actual number of such vehicles and the spillover demand for certificates of entitlement for them, in order to project the total number of vehicles on the road for optimal utilisation of our road system and to monitor the carbon emission of the vehicles.

While GrabCar and Uber vehicles can help their owners maximise utility and the pooling of idle assets and capital spent on the cars, such services must be operated under fair competition,together with the existing fleet of registered taxis.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline 'Competition between taxis, GrabCar, Uber should be fair'. Print Edition | Subscribe