Land Transport Authority (LTA) has stepped up enforcement against unlicensed private cars and private hire cars found plying illegally for fares to safeguard passenger safety and interest.
It said that more frequent checks will be conducted at high traffic areas, and at areas with high volume of feedback received.
Under the Road Traffic Act, unlicensed private cars or private hire cars found plying for fares illegally are liable to a fine not exceeding $3,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both. The vehicle used may also be forfeited.
As part of its enforcement operations, LTA has charged one driver and issued warnings to 19 others who were involved in using unlicensed private cars or private hire cars to ply illegally for fares.
LTA commenced investigations after receiving police reports lodged against the driver of motor car SJT1444Y for using it as a public service vehicle and charging exorbitant fares of between $30 and $1,050 for rides. The motor car involved was impounded to facilitate the investigations and the driver was questioned.
- On conclusion of the investigations, the driver of motor car SJT1444Y was charged with the following charges: 10 charges for using a vehicle as an unlicensed public service vehicle in contravention of Section 101(1) of the Road Traffic Act, Cap 276.
- 10 charges for driving a vehicle without valid insurance in force in contravention ofSection 3(1) of the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act, Cap 189.
On 14 January 2016, the driver pleaded guilty to all charges against him. He was convicted and fined a total amount of $15,000 (in default 50 days’ imprisonment). In addition, he was disqualified from holding all classes of driving licence for 1 year.
After the conviction, LTA sought AGC’s approval to forfeit the motor car SJT1444Y under S101(7) of the Road Traffic Act, Cap 276, as it was used for the commission of the offences.
LTA said that it will step up targeted enforcement operations by uniformed and plain clothes enforcement officers at high traffic areas such as Clarke Quay, East Coast Seafood Centre, HarbourFront Centre, Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa and Singapore Zoo/Night Safari.
Areas where LTA has received a high volume of feedback will also be patrolled.
LTA reminds the public that private cars should not be used to ferry passengers for hire and reward. Meanwhile, private hire cars are not allowed to tout nor accept street hails.
Earlier complaints were lodged to LTA by taxi drivers, reporting that private hirers are taking up their taxi lot at the taxi stand for public pick ups.
However, as in indicated in their response emails, LTA said that from the photos submitted, it does not seem that the vehicles are parking in the taxi stand.
One of such taxi drivers, Mr William Lim wrote to ask LTA to re-emphasize that no other vehicles except taxis can stop in the taxi stand. Otherwise, LTA should remove all taxi stand and allow taxis to pick up anywhere including bus stop and bus lane.
In response to the LTA’s statement, Mr Lim said, “Taxi stands are built with tax-payer money and it is meant for public transport vehicle only. And a lot of time, they (private hire vehicles) obstruct taxi from picking up pax at the taxi.”
By the first half year of 2017, LTA will require all private hire cars providing chauffeured services to display a tamper-evident decal prominently. This will facilitate commuter identification and enforcement against unlicensed public service vehicles.
Neither are they allowed to stop or park at taxi stops or taxi stands and those convicted in the case of a first offence is liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
Members of the public can call 1800-CALL LTA (1800-2255 582) or visit http://www.lta.gov.sg to provide feedback.