SINGAPORE - Drivers of private hire vehicles such as limousines, cars and combi-buses will now have an association to represent them in discussions with companies such as Uber and Grab, and the Government.
The National Private Hire Vehicles Association was officially registered on May 3 and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) estimates there are around 6,000 to 8,000 full-time drivers of such vehicles here, and other part-time drivers, said NTUC on Wednesday (May 11).
The NTUC's Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit is supporting the association in its formation, after a group of drivers approached NTUC last year for help to set up an organisation. The unit's director for strategy Mr S. Thiagarajan said at a media briefing that besides gaining a stronger voice, those who join the association will become members of the labour movement and will be able to access benefits such as free insurance, skills training support and bursaries for children.
There is an increasing need to ensure the growing pool of private hire drivers are cared for, fairly treated and can grow with the market needs, he said.
"With the discussion on licensing and regulation, drivers wanted to be in a position to give their views and feedback," he said. "We're hoping to have a regular platform with the Land Transport Authority meeting drivers every few months."
A 15-member pro-tem committee has been formed to drive recruitment efforts. Its secretary Shawn Ng, a limousine driver and managing partner of Riz and Partners Transportation Services, said they have met up with LTA to give feedback on appropriate timings for in-class training and self-learning under the new licensing framework.
"Most of the time when individual drivers give feedback to companies like rental companies, Uber and Grab, the companies may not be responsive," he said. ""We are trying to see how we can work with them to ensure a win-win situation."