Transport ministry wants to treat ride-hailing firms like taxis until law enacted

By Anh Minh   June 4, 2019 | 09:35 pm PT
Transport ministry wants to treat ride-hailing firms like taxis until law enacted
The Ministry of Transport suggests that Grab and other ride-hailing services are managed like taxi firms. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The Ministry of Transport has suggested it could treat ride-hailing services like taxi companies until there is a law in place to regulate them.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said in a report to the National Assembly on Wednesday that ride-hailing firms are opposed by traditional taxi firms, which say their revenues have been hit, while there is no legal framework to regulate them.

Some have not been complying with transport regulations and do not pay taxes, it said.

That is why the ministry wants Grab, FastGo and other companies to register afresh as taxi businesses and comply with legal requirements.

They should also have signs on top like regular taxis.

The ministry said it would come up with regulations for ride-hailing when road traffic law is next amended.

The Ministry of Information and Communications had earlier called for managing ride-hailing services and traditional transport firms differently to promote the digital economy. 

Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said the digital transformation would create new business models that challenge or replace existing ones.

"The question is whether the government will accept these new businesses. Digitizing the economy requires a revolution in terms of policies rather than technology."

The battle between ride-hailing firms and traditional taxis has been going on since Grab started expanding rapidly in the country. In December a HCMC court ordered Singapore’s Grab to pay domestic taxi firm Vinasun VND4.8 billion ($206,000) in compensation for alleged losses the former had caused the latter.

Grab appealed, saying it did not commit any wrong against Vinasun, and has been supported by prosecutors.

Vietnam has been piloting ride-hailing services for over two years in four provinces and cities. There are now 14 ride-hailing companies, with Grab the only foreign entity, and over 46,000 ride-hailing vehicles registered, according to the transport ministry.

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