Ride hailing apps Grab and Uber announced on Thursday (9 March) a slew of initiatives to help its drivers obtain private hire car driver’s vocational licenses (PDVL). These include everything from providing free medical check ups to covering the cost of application, training and test fees.
In a long anticipated move, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday that from 13 March, private hire car drivers can apply for PDVLs. Applicants must attend a 10-hour course.
Those who apply before 30 June can continue driving for their respective companies, but must obtain the PDVL within a year. For those who apply for a PDVL after the date, they will have to obtain the license before they can provide the service.
Last month, the Road Traffic Act was amended in Parliament, requiring drivers from ride hire services such as Grab and Uber to get vocational licenses. Grab currently has some 50,000 drivers across its various platforms, while Uber said it has tens of thousands of drivers.
Private hire car drivers with a valid taxi driver licence need not apply for the new license.
Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Uber Singapore general manager Warren Tseng noted,”There could possibly be some upside to this (PVDL)… There’s still a lot of people who don’t use (Uber) because they don’t feel safe… having this additional layer of validation could further legitimise this industry and encourage even more riders and customers onto the (Uber) platform.”
Among its initiatives to support its drivers in obtaining PDVLs, Uber’s FastLane programme will allow drivers to cut down the PVDL application time by half by acting like a concierge service to help drivers process their paperwork, instead of the drivers having to make multiple trips to LTA.
From next week, Uber will have a medical doctor on site at its Paya Lebar office for drivers to do their medical check ups, a requirement of the PDVL application process.
At a separate media briefing, Grab announced a $10 million injection into its GrabCar private hire car segment. Part of this amount will go towards fully covering all fees accrued by drivers in the process of obtaining a PDVL, as well as co-contributing to their MediSave funds.
Grab’s online PDVL application portal will also facilitate the application process.
“The goal here is to make it as seamless and as painless as possible, so that the drivers in this interim period can continue to drive and earn a decent income,” said Head of GrabCar Singapore Andrew Chan
Additional reporting by Hannah Teoh