Vietnamese regulators demand ride-hailing cars to indicate they are “taxis”

Policymakers believe that this solution will be fair to both traditional taxis and ride-hailing companies.

Vietnamese transport regulators this week have submitted the latest proposal on a decree governing conditions for transport businesses, which potentially will require all ride-hailing cars to either install a traditional taxi roof-sign, or place a decal bearing the word  “taxi” on the front and rear glass of vehicles.

This also applies to traditional taxis as well, meaning that regular taxis are not obliged to have taxi roof-signs, and can opt for a less costly solution: placing the “taxi” decal only. Regulators believe that this solution will create fairness between traditional taxis and ride-hailing cars.

For the past three years, Vietnamese authorities have been struggling to amend a decree on transportation businesses that may subject ride-hailing companies to the same requirements as taxi companies, and traditional taxis drivers have constantly called for stricter regulations for providers of ride-hailing car services. In particularly, Grab was entangled in a lengthy 18 months lawsuit with Vinasun, one of Vietnam’s biggest taxi firms.

The latest proposal might be a relief for Grab and other ride-hailing companies in the country, as placing the “taxi” decal on vehicles will be a comparatively cheap option instead of the initial project that demanded roof-signs similar to those used by taxicabs.

The decree is expected to be approved within this year and will formalize ride-hailing services for the first time since the pilot scheme implemented by the Ministry of Transport back in 2016.

According to the recently-released Google-Temasek-Bain report on Southeast Asia’s digital economy, Vietnam’s ride-hailing sector is expected to worth USD 4 billion by 2025, growing at an average rate of 38%.