SINGAPORE - Some 90 per cent of ride-hailing company Uber's drivers have already signed up for a programme which helps them get a mandatory licence that private-hire drivers need to apply for.
Called the FastLane programme, it was rolled out by Uber in March to expedite the process of drivers obtaining the Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL), which was made a requirement for all private-hire drivers by the Government.
These drivers have to apply for the licence by June 30, after which they will be given up to a year to complete and pass a 10-hour PDVL course. Those who miss the deadline will have to stop driving private-hire cars until they obtain the licence.
Within the first week of the programme's launch, 50 per cent of its drivers had applied through FastLane, said Uber in a media conference on Tuesday (June 6).
For drivers to begin applying for the vocational licence, a medical check-up is required. To help its drivers, Uber has introduced a mobile clinic at its Paya Lebar headquarters that provides fully subsidised medical check-ups to drivers applying for the licence.
The mobile clinic began operations on Monday and is able to carry out more than 200 check-ups a day. Three nurses are on-site to conduct blood pressure, X-rays and eyesight tests for drivers.
Drivers are already able to settle paperwork for their licences and make a deposit for their rental vehicles at the UberHub in Paya Lebar.
"What this does is reduce friction and help our driver-partners get their PDVL as quickly and easily as possible," said Uber Singapore's Head of Operations, Mr Jonathan Wong.
Drivers who apply for their licence via FastLane before June 30 can receive a free extension of their licence until June 30, 2018.
The company has cooperated with its fleet partners to help drivers who are permanent residents (PRs) continue driving for Uber past the June 30 deadline.
As PRs need to have an employment letter from their companies before they can apply for a PDVL, Uber has partnered with several chauffeur service companies to offer employment to PR drivers.
Some five companies have booths on-site at the UberHub in Paya Lebar to discuss employment options with drivers.
The company is hoping to partner with more chauffeur service companies in the future. "We're always looking at expanding our set of options for drivers," said Mr Leigh Wong, Uber Singapore and Malaysia's Head of Communications.