LTA eyes to ban driver exclusivity arrangements

The agency hopes that the move will spur competition and improve service quality.

Drivers may soon be able to drive for operators other than their own as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) proposed to prohibit driver exclusivity arrangements in an effort to enhance regulations for the point-to-point transport sector, according to an announcement. 

The proposal is part of LTA’s plans to reduce business and regulatory costs whilst ensuring that regulations are appropriate for transport services in Singapore. “Such driver exclusivity arrangements are detrimental to commuters, drivers and the P2P industry as a whole,” LTA explained in its consultation paper. “It could lead to market domination which reduces competition, and makes it harder for new operators to enter the market.”

LTA is also proposing to license point-to-point (P2P) operators including all ride-hail operators in an effort to protect commuters and drivers.

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The agency intends to introduce two types of licenses in the proposed new framework to replace the existing Taxi Service Operator Licence and TPB Registration Certificate.

The Street-Hail Service Operator Licence (SSOL) will allow licensees to provide street-hail services, with operators required to own their vehicles and maintain a minimum fleet size although the LTA is studying the possibility of lower the minimum fleet size required.

The Ride-Hail Service Operator Licence (RSOL) on the other hand will allow licensees to provide ride-hail services which the LTA intends to differentiate to tiers given the varying sizes of ride-hail operators. Small operators will be exempted from having to obtain a licence, LTA noted, whilst all other-ride hail operators, particularly larger operators, will be subject to more regulatory requirements.

LTA also intends to provide a regulatory sandbox wherein operators can experiment with new and innovative P2P services within a well-defined space and duration.

Also read: LTA to roll out six month on demand public bus trial

Meanwhile, LTA is also calling for feedback on whether child seats should be required when families with young children take P2P vehicles for street-hail and ride-hail services. This is on the back of mixed feedback concerning child-seat requirements which stipulate that car passengers under 1.35 m in height must be properly secured by an approved child restraint or booster seat.

“The P2P sector in Singapore has evolved significantly over the last few years, with the entry of private hire car (PHC) booking service operators and third-party taxi booking (TPB) service operators,” LTA noted. “The P2P sector is an important part of our transport network. The choices we make today will have far-reaching consequences for the future.”

Written feedback for the LTA’s proposed new framework can be submitted electronically via REACH’s portal or hardcopy to its office on 10 Sin Ming Drive until 21 February.  

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