Cars offering taxi services on technology platforms like GrabTaxi and Uber must put signs reading “TAXI E”. (Photo: chaytaxiuber.com)

Hanoi (VNA) - Cars offering taxi services on technology platforms like GrabTaxi and Uber must put signs reading “TAXI E” [E for "electronic"] on their roofs, the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam has proposed.

This is part of a draft decree the Directorate is compiling to replace the 2014 Governmental Decree on the transportation business and business conditions.

Under the draft, taxis that accept cashless payments would have to give passengers e-invoices with information including name of operator, registered plate numbers, starting point, destination, time and fare.

The software programmes that these taxies use to connect and charge passengers must be registered to agency authorities, so that agencies may oversee, inspect and detect violations.

Deputy head of the directorate Phan Thi Thu Hien said that during the development of transport activities with new kinds of transportation, users’ rights should be placed centre stage, and people should have the right to choose suitable services.

"The draft decree officially puts such unconventional taxies under authorised management for the first time, to create healthier competition among transport firms," she said.

Hien said that there are inadequacies in the operation of Uber now. For example, the directorate fails to collect taxes from Uber or to verify its e-hail application.

A two-year pilot programme called "Application of information technology in supporting the management and connection of commercial passenger transportation by contract" (GrabCar) - launched by the Transport Ministry last year - is expected to provide lessons for an improved legal framework for unconventional taxis.

Pham Duy Kinh, representative from VIC Taxi, said that while conventional taxis are subject to regulations, Uber and GrabTaxi are not.

The taxis using e-hail applications are operating without roof signs, badges, black boxes, metres, invoice printers, or listed fares, he said. And there is no quota designating the number of cars and owners who may offer GrabTaxi and Uber services.

Transportation experts have agreed that GrabTaxi and Uber have advantages in fares and convenience for passengers, particularly those with smartphones. However, legal frameworks are needed to oversee their operation in Vietnam, to ensure fair competition and passengers’ rights and safety.-VNA