Singapore Parliament Takes New Steps To Regulate Taxi Booking Apps

TECHINASIA: Singapore’s Parliament has proposed new laws for the regulation of third-party taxi booking apps such as Uber and GrabTaxias reported by Today Online. The regulations in question echo the basic regulatory frameworkproposed by Singapore’s Land Transport Authority back in November 2014. Requirements such as third parties having to register with the LTA, dispatch only properly licensed cars and drivers, and disclose adequate and timely information on charges and fees, remain.

The proposed laws outline the relevant fines for any failure to adhere to them. For example, failing to register with the LTA can result in a fine of up to S$10,000 (US$7,335) or a jail sentence of up to six months. In addition, sanctions of up to S$100,000 (US$73,345) could be imposed to any providers who fail to comply with conditions set by the LTA.

One notable difference in the proposed framework is the requirement to provide a way for the customer to declare their destination before the ride. Services like GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi already provide this option, but November’s proposals seemed to do away with it in order to avoid drivers picking and choosing customers. Now it seems that providers will simply be monitoring their drivers’ behavior to spot any particularly choosy ones and “educate” them accordingly.

The bill proposed by Singapore’s Transport Ministry is the latest development in the country’s attempt to exercise tighter control on third-party taxi booking apps. The city-state has certainly been more forthcoming to accommodate this kind of service than other nearby territories in which companies such as Uber are locked in legal tug-of-wars.