Private-Hire and Taxis were making good money by doing delivery for Amazon Prime Now over the past few weeks. Straits Times reported that LTA has stepped in to denounce the actions and state that both Private-Hire and taxis are not allowed to continue doing that.
LTA regulations state that private-hire vehicles and taxis are meant for ferrying passengers for a fee and are not allowed to be used solely for delivering of goods.
What is the penalty
LTA was unable to provide an answer what would the penalties be for private-hire or taxi drivers caught for flouting the rules.
It has been ongoing until Amazon came along
Besides those doing deliveries for Amazon, there are many other companies that have been leveraging on private-hire vehicles. When the Private-Hire framework was implemented on 1 July 2017, many Private-hire drivers did not get their Approval-To-Drive from LTA and were removed from the system. Uber offered many of these drivers a lifeline by asking them to drive on UberEats while they await their clearance from LTA to drive. There are also many ad-hoc delivery jobs that drivers have taken up to supplement their income but it hasn’t come under the spotlight
Taxis and Private-Hire doing deliveries to supplement their income have been ongoing for a long time. Nobody was ever reported to be caught and penalized by LTA until the Amazon opportunity came along and everybody was jumping on the bandwagon.
Will this stop Private-Hire Drivers and Taxis from delivering for Amazon
YES – A small group of law-abiding or also known as kia-see (scared to die) Drivers will drop out as they fear for their PDVL, car, life and anything that they can think of
NO – The majority will continue on as they know that enforcement actions will be hard. There are about 60,000 private-hire and taxis combined on our roads and there are hardly tell-tale signs of them doing deliveries instead of driving passengers around. Even if the enforcement officers correctly spot the vehicle ferrying the goods, the onus is on them to prove that the driver is doing delivery for a reward and not a delivery to their family or friends without a reward. The process becomes too tedious compared to issuing summons for illegal modifications and traffic offences.