Do more to help private-hire drivers

I refer to the proposal to let private hire vehicles and taxis use bus stops (Taxi, private-hire car firms offer ideas for masterplan; Dec 20).

I hope the authorities will consider removing the waiting option in ride-hailing apps.

Users should be at the pick-up point at the requested time instead of having the private-hire drivers wait for them, as this will inconvenience other traffic users.

The app should be smart enough to detect that a user is at a pick-up point until the driver arrives, or cancel the job.

As most private-hire drivers are using rental cars, perhaps the rental companies can also manage these cars the way taxi companies manage taxis.

Allowing drivers to claim tax deductions on car-related expenses is a good step. Other things to consider: A "for hire" sign on top of the car, prominent labelling on the doors, age and citizenship requirements, use of taxi stands, providing child seats and having the same COE pricing system as taxis.

A strong stance on proper identification should also be adopted to prevent users from making multiple bookings.

A SingPass account could be used for this purpose. Perhaps the Land Transport Authority could manage a common interface/access for all ride-hailing applications handling trip requests to ensure that a user has only one active booking at any time.

This will improve the current situation, in which a user makes multiple bookings and cancels all but one without penalty, at the inconvenience of the drivers.

Using a SingPass account should also eliminate fare cheating via the apps. If technology permits, users should have to pay via a QR scan for cash trips before a trip commences.

Cho Hon Loon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2018, with the headline 'Do more to help private-hire drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe