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Grab, Uber carpool services banned in Hanoi

Released at: 11:06, 18/07/2017

Grab, Uber carpool services banned in Hanoi

Photo: Todayonline.com

Newly-launched ride-sharing services banned in capital.

by Le Diem

The Hanoi Department of Transport has banned the ride-sharing services of Grab and Uber that allow people to share rides and split the fare, under a requirement from the Ministry of Transport.

Grab Vietnam introduced its carpool service, GrabShare, in early May, while Uber Vietnam had announced intentions to launch a similar service, called UberPool. The service allows drivers to add additional passengers to the journey in addition to the person who made the original booking. The GrabShare feature in Ho Chi Minh City was embraced by passengers and transport experts as a way of easing traffic congestion, allowing up to three people traveling in the same direction to share one GrabCar rather than hailing three separate cars.

However, the fare-splitting option is regarded as a violation of current laws, according to the ministry. Under law, cars operating within this business model are only permitted to sign one contract per trip.

In Vietnam, Uber and Grab are classified as technology companies that provide passenger transport services via an electronic contract. Users and drivers agree upon the trip and the fare via a “contract” made on their respective smartphone apps. If a GrabCar driver carries two passengers that agree to share their ride with each other, it means the driver is conducting two separate contracts and is therefore in breach of regulations, the ministry explained.

In addition, sharing a car with a stranger may result in possible risks for passengers the ministry claimed, though sharing rides in traditional taxis can be quite common at airports, for example. The ministry used this reason to support its claim that it was necessary to end the car-sharing services.

If Uber and Grab fail to conform with the direction to end their carpool services they will face fines of VND4-6 million ($175-260) per ride. Hanoi authorities have recently said they will manage the operations of app-based taxi services, including Uber and Grab, in a way similar to traditional taxis, to guarantee a fair business environment.

The move follows Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang taxi associations begging the Ministry of Transport to call for what they described as “a more equal business environment” in taxi services.

Uber and Grab taxis are also required to display a logo or badge or have their vehicles in a common color. Signposts banning Uber and Grab vehicles may be put up on Hanoi streets.

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