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Debate continues over definition of Uber & Grab

Released at: 14:23, 11/09/2017

Debate continues over definition of Uber & Grab

Photo: Ngoc Lan

Hanoi conference hears that Uber and Grab are best described as contract cars, not taxis.

by Ngoc Lan

Uber and Grab are not types of taxis but are types of contract cars, Mr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of the Vietnam Center for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR), told a workshop entitled “Urban Traffic Regulation Policy in the Digital Era” held by VEPR on September 8 in Hanoi.

The workshop focused on the emergence of many new socioeconomic phenomena in the context of new technologies evolving rapidly in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), typically in the transport market.

In Vietnam’s major cities, there is a growing tendency in planning and policy to respond to these new phenomena. Specifically, there is a limitation on the number of electronic contract cars such as Uber and Grab to minimize traffic congestion and prevent disruption to the traditional taxi industry.

Therefore, according to Mr. Thanh, policy makers not clearly differentiating between traditional taxis and Uber and Grab will lead to confusion.

Mr. Do Hoai Nam, CEO and Co-Founder of UP-Co Working Space Vietnam, told the workshop that the government should have a policy of obliging traditional taxis to change technology instead of limiting the development of Uber and Grab. “According to studies, occupancy in Uber and Grab cars is over 75 per cent and 25 per cent in traditional taxis,” he added.

Economist Pham The Anh agreed that Uber and Grab are a test of the direction towards promoting science and technology in real life and in economic activities. “Policy makers need to make assessments from a variety of perspectives, such as consumers, service providers, and taxi companies, to come up with appropriate policies,” he said.

At the workshop, Dr. Dang Quang Vinh from the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) proposed that the government eliminate some regulations and conditions and liberalize taxi transport, so that businesses can compete in an equal environment and ensure safety.

Uber and Grab have created competition in the market, with a number of traditional taxi companies renewing their technology and curbing fare rises. “Therefore, authorities should carefully assess the effectiveness of Uber and Grab and choose the best policy options in the context of extensive integration,” Dr. Vinh said.

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