Can private-hire cars act like cabs?

As a taxi driver, I welcome the regulators' light touch on third-party apps for taxis ("Cabbies cry foul over rival drivers"; last Saturday).

These apps have given many fellow drivers more options instead of empty cruising, and have made it more convenient for commuters too.

However, I am concerned with "private-hire cars" disguised as taxi services.

These vehicles are even equipped with virtual meter fare capability.

Recently, when I was queueing at the airport, I received a brochure encouraging me to switch to driving a private-hire vehicle.

It touted low rentals and no worries on meeting taxi availability standards and other Land Transport Authority (LTA) regulations. It also indicated tie-ups with app operators on call bookings, and guaranteed daily jobs.

I understand that drivers are also encouraged to set up their own transport company, as the sole proprietor, and hire a vehicle from a rental company.

It was attractive, but many drivers were unsure about whether it was legitimate and legal, as the LTA previously explained that drivers offering chauffeur services must be employees of a limousine company.

Given the growing interest among many drivers, and the strong marketing strategies of private-hire car businesses, I hope the LTA can make it clear if such practices are allowed.

Henry Tay Choon Chua


This article was first published on June 04, 2015.
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