Ride-hailing service companies such as Grab and Go-Jek will be able to offer a street-hailing option for their customers in the future.
Speaking at the second reading of the P2P Passenger Transport Industry Bill on Aug. 6, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will introduce a new regulatory framework for the sector.
Point-to-point (P2P) transport operators will be required to hold separate licenses for both street-hail and ride-hail services.
This will enable LTA to have greater regulatory oversight of the sector, in order to improve commuter and driver safety.
While taxi companies such as ComfortDelGro have to get another license for ride-hailing, operators like Grab could apply for a license to offer street-hailing.
End to exclusive arrangements
LTA will also put an end to "exclusive arrangements" provided by operators.
Licensed operators will no longer be allowed to offer exclusive arrangements that prevent drivers from driving for other operators.
The sole exception is for drivers directly employed by operators.
This makes it easier for new operators to enter the Singapore market, and will help commuters to benefit from an open P2P market.
Minimum fleet size
The law also requires street-hailing operators, i.e. taxi companies, to maintain a minimum fleet size of 800 vehicles.
However, ride-hailing operators with 800 or more vehicles on their platforms must also be licensed in order to provide ride-hailing services.
Carpool operators with more than 800 vehicles on the platform will also be licensed.
Licensed operators must ensure that their vehicles can pass the requisite inspections, and abide by LTA's safety requirements.
Changes coming in 2020
Anyone who provides street-hail or ride-hail services without a license or exemption may face a fine of up to S$10,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.
License applications will open in February 2020, with the new regulatory framework expected to begin in June 2020.
Top image from Harshal Desai via Unsplash.