SINGAPORE - Ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber said they will be helping drivers to defray the costs of meeting the requirements for the new Private Hire Car Driver Vocational Licence (PDVL).
The Land Transport Authority announced on Thursday (March 9) that applications for the vocational licence will open next Monday.
Grab said it will help drivers on its GrabCar platform defray the costs of licence-related charges such as application fees, medical check-ups as well as training and test fees.
These expenses will come from a $10 million fund Grab is allocating towards the GrabCar platform, $2 million of which will go to a drivers' incentive programme.
Grab will also update its drivers app to require that drivers verify their identities using biometric or facial recognition, to ensure that they are licensed.
Drivers will receive notifications when their vocational licence and commercial insurance policies are nearing expiry.
Grab is also partnering with the National Private Hire Vehicles Association to provide full-time GrabCar drivers with MediSave. It will match a percentage of the driver's incentives, subject to the driver's own MediSave contributions and capped at $200 monthly.
Grab Singapore head Lim Kell Jay said these initiatives are aimed at making driving a "long term sustainable option" for more people here.
Rival firm Uber said that is also helping its drivers move to the licensing scheme through an Uber Fastlane Programme.
The programme will give drivers a 12-month extension to their vocational licence until June 30, 2018. The firm said its processes can also help drivers get the vocational licence in two to three weeks instead of the estimated four to six weeks if drivers applied themselves.
The programme will also offer free medical check-ups and free vocational licence training for drivers.
Uber said: "This programme was developed in consultation with the LTA and is in line with best practices from Uber operations around the world."
Applicants for the new Private Hire Car Driver Vocational Licence are required to attend a 10-hour course and hold a Class 3/3A driving licence which has been valid for a continuous period of at least two years.
All applicants will be required to undergo a medical examination, and will be subject to background checks. There is a non-refundable $40 application fee.