If you’re not already familiar with Amazon Prime Now, it’s this amazing service that guarantees the delivery of your online purchased items within two hours.
And just recently, because of such roaring demand for their “exceptional” service, they had to hire cabs to help deliver their stuff.
Yeah, you’ve read that right.
Real Singapore taxis!
In an interview with TODAY, ComfortDelGro Group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan had said that Amazon Prime’s deliveries were like other conventional taxi bookings – there was at least one passenger on board.
Trans-cab, the second-largest cab operator in Singapore with more than 4,400 taxis as of May, claims that it hasn’t heard news of its drivers accepting such offers, but is totally open to the idea.
The two hottest private-hire car companies right now, Uber and Grab, were totally cool with it too. Their drivers, according to them, are freelancers and are allowed to look and explore for other sources of income.
Looks like a totally win-win situation for both sides, eh? Amazon Prime gets to build on its reputation and efficiency, while the courier drivers earn handsome wages for it.
But guess what?
Land Transport Authority, like that deadpan, no-nonsense guy in your group, has decided to crash the party and say, “No.”
For a good reason, of course.
In an interview with The Straits Times, an LTA spokesman said that under their regulations, taxis and private-hire cars can ferry passengers for hire and reward (i.e. make money), but cannot be used just for the delivery of goods.
However, they added, passengers are allowed to carry goods with them when they charter a taxi or private-hire car.
Basically, it means you as the driver can’t be the deliveryman for the goods. But you as a rider, who book a taxi or private hire car, can be the deliveryman.
Well, this sure changes the game completely.While ComfortDelGro has maintained that their bookings were always accompanied by a passenger, drivers have said that it’s not always the case.
With the taxi business lagging in revenue, cabbies have been tempted by the high rates the delivery companies have offered. They need to do something to earn more, they reason.
After all, the projected income is about $30 per hour for delivering with Amazon Prime Now.
Premier Taxi was in agreement with the rule, saying that they remind their drivers to only deliver goods with someone on board. They however admitted that with the large number of taxis and cars in Singapore, it was hard to enforce regulations.
Prime Taxi Chairman Neo Nam Heng was quite agreeable with the courier service though, and has even encouraged all the drivers of his 1,500 taxis to take up such jobs. But obviously not the illegal way, like duh.
What does this mean for Amazon Prime Now? With this already-existing rule enforced strongly, would they choose to look at other options or continue with the taxi-ferrying route?
What about the drivers whom have already delivered goods on their own? Are they technically offenders?
What’s your take? Should LTA relax their stance, or should drivers suck it up and let this golden opportunity go?
But before anything, let us be bias: it’s Amazon. The problem will be resolved shortly. We just have to wait and see.
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Featured Image: todayonline.com