Vietnam slams brakes on new app-based ride-hailing services

By VnExpress   June 16, 2017 | 05:12 am PT
Drivers operating under the radar for companies such as Uber and Grab are flooding the country's mega-cities.

Vietnam's Ministry of Transport has instructed localities to stop licensing new ride-hailing services in a bid to control app-based taxis, which are putting pressure on traffic infrastructure and other transport companies.

The ministry has licensed seven app-based ride hailing services so far: Grabtaxi, Thanhcong Car, Mailinh Car, Home Car, Uber, LB. Car and Vic. Car, reported the government's e-portal.

However, with the number of so-called "technology taxis" threatening to spiral out of control, Nguyen Hong Truong, deputy transport minister, said his ministry will tighten management of ride-hailing firms following complaints from transport departments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Statistics from the ministry showed that as of April 2017, over 13,500 cars in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Khanh Hoa Province had been granted licenses to work for ride-hailing firms, but Hanoi's Department of Transport said the actual number of technology taxis in the city had passed 7,000.

Meanwhile, the actual number in HCM City had reached 22,000 as of the end of April, far beyond the city’s expectations, said Nguyen Ngoc Giao, deputy chief of the city's Transport Department.

“A draft amendment has been included to a resolution on transport management. Once the resolution is adopted, there will be fairer management of app-based taxis like Uber and Grab,” Truong said.

Regarding traditional taxis, there are now some 19,200 cars operating on Hanoi's streets, while there are just 11,000 in HCM City, half the number of the new app-based rides allegedly operating in the southern metropolis. 

Nguyen Hong Minh, director of the Nguyen Minh taxi company, said despite providing a similar service, Grab and Uber car owners are not under the same management as traditional taxis.

Minh said that competition is growing between the two alternatives in terms of price and service.

Dang Mai Ha from Hanoi's Ha Dong District said she hasn't used a traditional taxi since installing the Grab and Uber apps.

“The drivers are kind, the cars are clean and the fares are transparent,” said Ha.

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