LTA to review rules on delivery services

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will review the ban on taxis and private-hire vehicles being used for delivery services. This response comes after the National Taxi Association and National Private Hire Vehicles Association lobbied for change. The LTA had long stood firm on its rules, which were meant to prevent taxi drivers from being distracted by non-fare tasks.

“LTA will monitor recent trends to see if these regulations need to be reviewed,” said an LTA spokesman.

Cabbies were concerned the ban would deny them an opportunity for added sources of income amid stiff competition from Grab and Uber and as demand for e-commerce delivery increased. 

An Uber driver supported the ban, highlighting that drivers would not be aware of the contents of the deliveries and may be implicated if they are contraband. 

Association adviser Ang Hin Kee said taxi availability for passengers would not be adversely impacted by courier delivery services, which would be a complementary business for drivers. He noted that because of excess capacity during off-peak hours, courier delivery services would reduce empty cruising.
With more than 40,000 private-hire vehicles and 26,000 taxis on the roads, supply to commuters was unlikely to be dented by them also providing courier services.

Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport chairman Sitoh Yih Pin said he hoped LTA would assess the situation and make changes where necessary.

Sources: “Taxi body asks for rule change on deliveries, LTA will review rules if necessary”, “Cabbies as couriers: LTA may review ban” (The Straits Times, 4 August 2017)

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