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The proposal to change licence plate colour of ride-sharing vehicles causes concerns among drivers

Bewildered drivers

The Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) is collecting feedback for the draft circular replacing Circular No.15/2014/TT-BCA, stipulating the process of granting and revoking the registration and license plates of motor transport. Notably, the draft circular proposes changing the license plates of vehicles carrying goods and passengers from black-on-white to red-on-yellow. If approved, the circular will take effect in early 2020. The transition process to change old license plates to the new colour is slated to be completed in December 2020.

As a result, individuals and businesses will have to spend more time, manpower, and financial resources to meet this provision, which leads to rising fares and directly affects consumers.

Nguyen Van Xang, director of An Phat Khang Co-operative, managing more than 3,000 ride-hailing vehicles, said, “The drivers are bewildered about the proposal to change license plate colour, which will lead to increased complexity and overlapping regulatory management. Traffic congestions will also increase when passengers opt for private cars rather than ride-hailing services due to growing fares.”

“In Vietnam, the transport sector has been steadily progressing towards Industry 4.0. Most cars are equipped with electronic clocks as well as badges showing contract vehicles and business registration. Thus, it is not necessary to change the colour of the license plates,” he added.

Most co-operative drivers disagree with the proposal. Xang said that ride-hailing drivers use their spare time to earn additional income so the change will not only affect their lives and livelihoods, but also reduce a car’s value when sold, along many other consequences.

Currently, ride-hailing vehicles are equipped with distinctive badges from the Ministry of Transport. The regulation shows good results so competent authorities only need to strengthen the inspection to control and handle violations.

Adopting technology into management

According to transportation experts, change the colour of license plates will deter drivers who wish to participate in the sharing economy. Replacing the license plates of thousands of vehicles will be a tremendous expense for taxi drivers and businesses. Many ride-hailing drivers see little difference between attaching yellow license plates and taxi light boxes on their personal vehicles.

 

They do not want their personal cars to be identified as business vehicles so they will be subject to stricter regulations when using the vehicles for personal purposes. The regulation may reduce the number of ride-hailing drivers, even as passenger demand keeps rising, resulting in a decrease in the satisfaction level of passengers. At the same time, the change will raise transportation costs, which will directly affect consumers.

With the development of science and technology in the 4.0 era, the authorities have a lot of options to regulate different types of vehicles. Under the revised Road Traffic Law, the Ministry of Transport has proposed the government to identify business and non-business vehicles through the different colour of registration stamps.

There will be a QR code on the registration stamp to support vehicle identification through smartphone applications. This non-intrusive method will reduce the time it takes to check papers, vehicle information, as well as handle administrative violations in a timely manner. The change does not incur costs for the government to organise the re-issuance and renewal of license plates, which is also in line with the policy of applying information technology in state management.

Best practices around the world to manage ride-sharing vehicles

Many countries around the world do not rely on license plate colours to distinguish between business and non-business vehicles. In Singapore, contract vehicles can be identified by private-hire decals displayed on the top right corner of the windshield and the upper left corner of the rear window. In Hong Kong, a contract car must be affixed with a hire car permit on the left side of the windshield.

Most countries in Europe and North America do not distinguish between business and non-business vehicles the colour of the license plate. Regarding the identification of vehicles, Washington DC in the US specifies that ride-sharing vehicles must have distinctive logos, badges, decals, or the display of trade dress on the exterior of the vehicles.

The trade dress must be submitted to the District of Columbia Taxicab Commission (DCTC) so that the commission can identify each company. The trade dress should be large enough with a visible colour from a distance of 50ft (~15m) in daylight as well as be reflective, glowing, or visible in the dark.

Meanwhile, in the UK, all contract vehicles carrying passengers are required to display a license disc on the front and rear windows. The front plate needs to be black-on-white with a blue EU flag on the left of the GB sign. The rear plate needs to be black-on-yellow with a blue EU flag on the left of the GB sign. VIR

Thanh Van

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