Inspectors from the HCM City Department of Transport begin to inspect taxis on January 5, including those operated by Uber, and penalise those being driven illegally.
A municipal transport official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that taxis without insignias, logos and meters would be fined. Inspectors from the department have already fined 11 taxis, including several that charged taxi fees based on messages from passengers' mobile phones.
The city Department of Transport's deputy chief inspector Le Hong Viet told the newspaper that Uber was currently illegal because it did not meet current transport and traffic regulations and created unfair competitiveness with licensed transport businesses.
However, he said that if most of the public viewed the service as a convenience and supported it, authorities and relevant agencies should study specific conditions under which Uber's operations could be legal in Viet Nam.
Transport Minister Dinh La Thang said after working with relevant ministries, agencies and representatives from Uber that Uber had registered in Viet Nam as a technology business, rather than a transportation enterprise. Therefore, Uber should sign a contract with qualified transport enterprises to meet conditions for licences, vehicles and labour so that its transportation related activity could become legal in Viet Nam, the minister said.
The ministry also asked transport enterprises contracting with Uber to abide by current regulations, saying that both scheduled and surprise inspections would be carried out by the ministry's inspectors. Violators would be fined and Uber would also have to take responsibility for the violations.
According to Tuoi Tre, Jordan Condo, Asia Pacific head of Public Policy at Uber, told Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang in a letter that the company sought to partner with the ministry.
He said he would soon meet relevant agencies to discuss Uber's management and operation in Viet Nam.
The company is also looking at working with the ministry to develop apps for water transport, with the aim of increasing transportation effectiveness and reducing traffic congestion.