You know how your third-party apps such as GrabTaxi and Uber have always come in handy in times of dire need for a taxi? There’s a new set of laws to be enforced on the companies that own these apps, and they do affect you too.
The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) has announced its introduction of a new set of regulations surrounding some of the services offered by these third-party app vendors, which they’ll have to comply with if they wish to continue in operation.
LTA claims the changes were implemented to “safeguard commuter safety and interests”, which basically means the new regulatory framework will be in your favour.
The looming changes
Firstly, you don’t need to specify your destination on the apps before the booking’s made. According to LTA, there have been an increasing number of concerns that taxi drivers are nit-picking their passengers or avoiding certain bookings based on the destinations of these commuters.
All fare rates, surcharges, and fees payable must be made clear to passengers, including the flag-down fare, distance and time rates, booking fees, and peak period and location surcharges.
We might see these somehow incorporated into the apps. And it’s even suggested for these operators to provide you with the option to reject certain types of taxis if you do not agree with fare rates and surcharges.
You also won’t be able to bid and pre-tip your rides, so that the access to taxis is equal to all. In addition, there may be an alteration to booking fees, since they now cannot exceed those charged by taxi companies.
Other laws include the need for these third-party companies to register with the LTA (they’ll then be given a license valid for three years), the requirement for them to dispatch only licensed taxis with valid taxi vocational licenses, as well as provide a forum for basic customer support services, like lost-and-found services or feedback and complaints.
According to LTA, the changes can be expected sometime in Q2 next year, so you can expect to hear about the changes from the likes of Uber and GrabTaxi in the months leading up to it.
[Source: The Straits Times]