Saturday, 15 April 2017

Private-hire cars must display decals from 1 July 2017

Enforcement officers will be able to tell if decal is removed and reattached
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 14 Apr 2017

Private-hire drivers here will have to display decals on their car windscreens from July 1.

The 14cm by 10cm plastic decal display - about twice the size of a road tax disc - must be stuck on the front and rear windscreens.

The decal is tamper-evident, which means enforcement officers will be able to tell if it has been removed and reattached.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the measure is "to allow for easier identification of registered private-hire cars, and facilitate enforcement against offences such as unregistered cars providing chauffeured services or private-hire cars picking up passengers by street hail".

Owners of private-hire cars registered with the LTA on or before Feb 28 will have their first pair of tamper-evident decals affixed at no cost. Owners who registered their vehicles after this date will have to pay $20.

They can obtain and get their decals affixed only at the following locations from Monday:

• Vicom/JIC inspection centres

• STA inspection centres

• Uber, Grab affixing centres

The LTA said failure to display the decals will be an offence under the Road Traffic Act. More details on the penalties will be made known at a later date, it said.

The decals will also be inspected when private-hire cars undergo regular vehicle inspections.

All private-hire vehicles must have the decals before their road tax can be renewed.

But if a decal is found to have been tampered with at the inspection centre, the driver will not face a penalty. He merely has to buy a new decal before he will be allowed to renew his road tax for the vehicle.

Letters have been mailed to all registered private-hire car owners to inform them of the requirement.

The official number of private- hire cars here is unavailable, but estimates put it at around 30,000.

Private-hire driver Jerry Yeo, 44, said of the decal: "I love it because it is smallish and could be passed off as a parking label. I am glad it isn't big."

An Uber spokesman said it would be helping its driver-partners comply with the regulation, and has prepared one of its centres to provide decal-affixing services.

"Uber riders are already able to identify the driver's name, licence plate number, car make and even the colour of the car from within the app," it said.

"Since the LTA now requires decals for ride-sharing vehicles, we hope it would also consider allowing these vehicles access to taxi stands."

Besides displaying the new decal, private-hire drivers have to apply for a Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence by June 30.

They have up to a year to complete and pass the 10-hour course. Those who miss the deadline will have to stop driving private-hire cars until they obtain the licence.

Miss Denise Tan, 21, a regular private-hire car user, said the move to require drivers to display the decals would be pointless if it was not enforced.

"It seems like a deterrent effort to me. How are they going to enforce this effectively?" said the university student.

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