Ride hailing companies sponsor for their drivers

Last year in the Committee of Supply debate that happened in the Parliament, the Senior Minister said that a new license framework for the drivers will soon be scheduled.

According to Ng Chee Meng, the Senior Minister of the State for Transport, the private hire car drivers will have a new license framework and for the TDVL (Taxi Driver Vocational License) the existing pattern will be upgraded. In his speech, the Minister said that the numbers of rides taken by the taxi drivers have increased by taking up the bookings via the mobile application. He also informed that over the past 3 years the number of pre-booked taxi service has increased to fifty percent and the reason behind the increase is because of the improvements made by the taxi service companies in their mobile apps.

By using efficient algorithms, the drivers are quickly matched with the nearby commuters and it has helped to aggregate the demand and supply. This also has helped the drivers earn more for their living, while the riders have been benefited because there are around ten thousand drivers available at peak hours.

The regulatory framework

Though the taxi drivers and riders are benefitted by the ride hailing service there were some speed bumps in the process and has caused disquiet among some of the taxi drivers. Therefore the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has come up with the new set of regulations that will protect the riders and also the taxi industry will reach new levels.

And with the development of the raid hailing services like Grab and Uber, there is a demand for implementing new regulations and rules that will ensure that the riders have a safe ride. Keep the safe of the riders as the first priority, the Land Transport authority introduced the new regulation called the PDVL (Private Hired car Driver Vocational License) framework. This new regulation framework will ensure that all the drivers who provide the chauffer service will undergo the sufficient training process that focuses on the services that consist of sufficient training programs on the regulations and the safety while driving.

The drivers who apply for the PDVL will undergo the screening process and they are subjected to the demerit system called the Vocational License Point System for the errant conducts like the soliciting the street hailing jobs and touting jobs.

Background verification and medical examination

To get the PDVL, the applicant must also take the medical examination and they must be a registered owner of the chauffeured service company or must be employed as a driver for a limousine company. And in the case of the Singaporeans, they have to be employees or a chauffeur company or a car rental company or be the sole proprietors. The drivers must hold the Class 3 or Class 3A license for 2 years and they must have driven for 2 years before applying for the PDVL.

The drivers applying for the PDVL course must attend the course and pass a ten hours class, and for every six years the drivers have to attend a 3 hours refresher course. Any active drivers who do not have the demerit point will be exempted and this rule goes the same for the drivers who are employed as drivers by the limousine companies. Read more on Zoplay.com

The Minister said that apart from the PDVL, the private hired cars must also be registered under the LTA and the drivers should display their tamper evident decal and the PDVLs that cannot be used again if it is removed. All these regulations will assure the riders that cars are registered under the LTA that will help in strengthening the enforcement efforts.

TDVL to update the changing landscape

Most of the drivers working for the taxi industry stated that their training curriculum should be updated and for that reason the ministry is modifying the changes in the reflecting technology and industry practice.

So, according to the updated curriculum the drivers will be taught on how to use the technology like the GPS (Global Positioning System) and the course duration is reduced from sixty hours to twenty five hours. There are also plans on changing the way of teaching, so instead of the classroom method all the training concepts will be made online.

Also the duration of the refresher course will be reduced to 3 hours instead of 5 hours and the sessions are reduced from 9 hours to 6 hours. Even the good drivers who do not have the demerit point will also be exempted, so that they can attend the refresher course. The drivers also have the chance of moving from the TDVL to the PDVL because the curriculum of the TDVL covers a considerable part of the PDVL curriculum. Build your own Uber for x with The drivers have to undergo a briefing on the regulations and chauffer service in the industry. Therefore, it will allow the drivers to switch between the chauffer service and the taxi driving.

The ride hailing sponsors

The drivers applying for the PDVL should have a drivers’ license of Class 3/3A for 2 years and it comes with forty dollars cost and they also have to attend ten hours PDVL course and must undergo the medical examination. 

And the drivers signing by June 30th have one full year to attend and pass the PDVL course by the STA (Singapore Taxi Academy) and at the same time they can continue providing the private hire car service. Therefore, the drivers have to obtain their license before apply for the new vocational license.

The leading Southeast Asian company Grab announced that they have invested ten million Singapore dollars in their ride hailing service – Grab Car service that will also include the helping of the drivers to obtain the PDVL. The ride hailing company will foot all the costs that are associated with the new regulation like the training, test, medical checkups. The company will also create an online portal that will allow the drivers to download the PDVL applications from the portal, so that the company will take care of the records by providing the preparation in advance and issuing the reminder.

The Country Head for Singapore, Mr. Lim Kell Jay said that there are possibilities for driver attrition, mainly in the part time or the less active drivers, who take only handful of booking in a week. However, the drivers have the option to work with their service, GrabHitch that will match the drivers with the commuters and it does not affect the new regime. This platform also is associated with the Medisave accounts that the full time drivers have. The full time drivers on an average trip eighty rides in a week.

Similar to the Grab, the San Francisco ride hailing giant- Uber announced its new program called the FastLane that covers all the costs that are associated with the applying of the new regulatory framework, including the application fees and medical checkup. The ride hailing company has partnered with the Raffles Medical clinic that offers the Uber drivers with free medical screening service. If the ride hailing company is not sponsoring, then the drivers have to pay around three hundred and fifty Singapore dollars.

This program was initiated by the company after the meeting held with the drivers. The General Manager of Uber Singapore, Warren Tseng said that the company is ready to provide its drivers with round the clock service without putting the drivers under any kind of financial burdens.