The Directorate for Roads of Vietnam (DRVN) has suggested that Uber and Grab taxis should have signs on their cars to differentiate them from conventional taxis.
|Drivers for Uber and GrabTaxi should have signs on their cars to differentiate them from conventional taxis, according to the DRVN.-VNS Photo Truong Vi
The draft sparked a wave of protest from many traditional taxi companies, however, who said this change would amount to legal recognition of Uber and GrabTaxi.
Do Quoc Binh, chairman of the Ha Noi Taxi Association, said that the draft decree did not make it clear what requirements taxi firms like Uber and Grab need to meet to have signs attached to their cars. Traditional taxi firms are subject to constraints on the number of vehicles they operate and are required to display their headquarters and business licences, as well as providing training for their drivers.
Taxis like Uber and Grab Taxi, meanwhile, will be legalised under the decree but face no such constraints.
Nguyen Anh Quan – CEO of Thanh Cong Taxi said that they are legal businesses but face many constraints such as limitations on the number of vehicles. If the DRVN allowed Uber and Grab taxis to have "Taxi E" signs on their cars this would be unfair to traditional taxi firms.
Binh added that conventional taxis, which have meters inside the cars, come under the control of state authorities. However, he was unsure of who will take responsibility for Uber and Grab taxis, which currently calculate fares using online software.
This representative told the media that after nearly 20 years of development, Ha Noi has only 18,000 taxis due to the limitations of the city development plan. If the DRVN under the Ministry of Transport allowed Uber and Grab Taxi to display a "Taxi E" sign, the number of taxis in the city would rapidly increase and the industry would become difficult to control.
Nguyen Tuan Anh, CEO of GrabTaxi, said that because amendments to the decree are only in the draft stage he would not comment.
An industry insider said that the war between traditional taxis and high-tech taxi companies will become fiercer. The eventual winners in this industry will be the ones who have a good business strategy and offer the best customer service.
In an interview with VnExpress online, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho said that the draft did not reflect the views of the ministry and needs adjusting.
Tho also said that the ministry will not differentiate Uber and Grab cars from traditional taxis. To ensure fair competition, all taxis are required to comply with rules regarding the age of the car, driver training and vehicle safety.
The DRVN confirmed that a request for Uber and GrabTaxi to display a "Taxi E" sign is only an idea at this stage and it will finalise amendments to the relevant decree at the end of the month.
The request will be contained in the draft amendments to Decree No. 86 on the business of transport by motor car, prepared by the DRVN.
It is expected the Directorate will collect opinions from stakeholders, including Uber and GrabTaxi, before approving a final draft for submission to the Government.
Tho acknowledged that the Ministry of Transport asked Uber and Grab to calculate the number of drivers they employ but this has not yet been provided by either company. The ministry will require traffic inspectors to launch sweeps targeting Uber and Grab taxis and strictly handle any violations.