Singapore to Regulate Taxi-booking Apps Uber and GrabTaxi

singaporeSingapores Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced plans to regulate third-party taxi booking services such as Uber and GrabTaxi within the city, capping fees and requiring only licensed cabs and drivers to be used.

The rules, which will take effect in Q2 2015, will force the operators of the increasingly popular services to register with the LTA, and will limit their charges to those of regular taxi companies.

Singapore is one of the most expensive places on the planet to own a private car, and the vast majority of the population rely upon taxis and public transport to get around. Taxi apps have been rapidly adopted by consumers within the city, where peak hours and frequent tropical downpours can often make finding a cab nearly impossible.

GrabTaxi and similar apps offer commuters a choice of taxis based on which cars are closest to their location, regardless of operating company, which conflict with booking services offered by traditional taxi companies.

Ubers booking services within the city include cheaper UberX and high-end UberExec cars, as well as the option for searching for regular licensed cabs. According to Uber, UberExec and UberX would be exempt from the new regulations, as these only partner with already licensed limousine and rental car companies.

“We appreciate that the LTA has acknowledged the benefits our technology brings, and like Uber, is putting the interest and safety of consumers and drivers first,” said Mike Brown, regional general manager of Southeast Asia at Uber.

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