EU ruling unlikely to affect Uber's operations in Singapore

The EU's top court has ruled that Uber is an ordinary transportation company instead of an app and should be regulated as such. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The European Union ruling that Uber is a taxi service is not likely to have much impact in Singapore, said observers on Wednesday (Dec 20) .

Senior lecturer Park Byung Joon, an urban transport specialist with the Singapore University of Social Sciences, noted that some foreign governments had gone so far as to ban Uber for not adhering to taxi regulations.

But the Singapore authorities have largely embraced private-hire car services, he noted, pointing out that the developments in the past two years were aimed at governing the burgeoning industry.

Since July this year (2017), private-hire cars, such as those of Uber and Grab, are required to show decals identifying them as such.

Their drivers are also required to attend and pass a 10-hour course, to obtain a Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL).

As of October, about 44,200 cars have had the decal affixed while about 57,300 drivers have applied for the PDVL.

Those found operating a private-hire car without a decal or vocational licence can be fined up to $1,000, jailed up to three months, or both, for a first offence.

Repeat offenders may face a fine of up to $2,000, or a jail term of up to six months, or both

Said Dr Park: "We are past the point of having to decide whether to define Uber as a taxi service."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.