10 Facts About the New Vocational Licence for Grab/Uber Drivers

Since last year April, Uber and Grab drivers, otherwise known as Private-hire car (PHC) drivers, were to be regulated and officially licensed by LTA. However, these measures only start since yesterday (7 Feb 2017) to give drivers time to take and pass the Private Hire Driver’s Vocational License (PDVL) course.

Since this may be very old news, or very new… news to you, we break down some facts here so you don’t need to dig through official documents or complicated reports.


1. Be Licensed from 7 Feb Onwards

Drivers are now required to be licensed, as of 7 Feb, under the new amendments to the Road Traffic Act made in Parliament on the same day. This means existing Grab and Uber drivers (or Lyft. You know Lyft, right?) must be licensed since yesterday or risk being charged. Prospective drivers also have to take the course as soon as possible and get the license before driving for PHC operators.


2. Car Decal by Middle of 2017

Licensed drivers must also affix their cars with tamper-evident decals issued by LTA by the middle of this year. Just being licensed is not enough, as it is still an offence if you don’t have a decal identifying you as a PHC driver.


3. Rules are Enforced for Operators

The amendments also give LTA the power to enforce and introduce rules for the PHC operators, in addition to regulating the drivers. Currently, the service providers have to provide authorities (read: LTA) with trip and fleet-related data to help in transport planning functions.


4. Operators can be Heavily Fined and Punished

The onus to obey the rules is not all on the PHC drivers, however. Operators can also get charged, and fined up to S$10,000 per offense. If there are three or more instances within a 12-month period, of a driver under a particular operator committing a major offense, then a suspension order could be meted out, banning all drivers from driving for the operator for a period of time.


5. Offense for Driving under Suspended Operator

If a driver continues to drive for an operator during the suspension period, the driver could be charged and fined up to S$2,000, jailed for up to 6 months, or both. The severity of the punishment depends on the number of offenses. Their license could also be suspended or revoked.

Basically, got law just obey can already. Don’t get jailed for being stupid.


6. Same Demerit System as Taxi Drivers

As of the amendments, Grab and Uber drivers are also subject to the same demerit point system as that of taxi drivers. This means that should a PHC driver get too many complaints, or make too many infringements on LTA regulations, and accrue too many demerit points, their vocational license can get suspended or revoked.


7. PHC Drivers to Abide by Same Code of Conduct as Taxi Drivers

This one should be obvious. Now that PHC drivers are expected to follow similar rules as taxi drivers, they are naturally expected to abide by the same code of conduct as taxi drivers, which may or may not be exactly the same as those determined by the individual operators.

This shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re a law-abiding citizen and a generally nice guy.


8. Operators Exempt from Licensing Fees for Now

Taxi operators are currently required to pay a licensing fee equivalent to 0.2% of their annual gross revenue. This amount is expected to rise to 0.3% this year. However, as of now, PHC operators are not expected to pay this fee at all.


9. Carpooling Services are Not Affected

All these regulations such as licenses, and fines etc. are not applicable for carpooling services. According to Second Minister of Transport Mr Ng Chee Meng, carpooling services are not for profit, and the small fee they charge are on a cost-recovery basis. As such, these services are different and thus do not fall under these regulations.


10. Taxi Stands are Solely for Taxis

One last minor thing. Taxi stands remain solely for the use of taxis, and the street hailing market (passengers stand at the side of a road and hail a ride) is also reserved solely for taxis. So don’t think that if you’re an Uber driver you could just pick up a passenger who hailed for a cab.


All these regulations are designed for the benefit of passengers, and to protect their interests, so offences and disputes happen less. These are all reasonable enough, considering that taxis have been subjected to these rules the whole time.

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