Vietnam unveils new taxi app to compete with Uber

By Nguyen Mi - Ha Nguyen, Thanh Nien News

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A passenger takes a taxi in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trung Hieu A passenger takes a taxi in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trung Hieu


The Ho Chi Minh City Transportation Department has introduced a mobile application to connect passengers with local taxi firms after all but declaring war on Uber, the controversial online car booking service.
According to the agency, smart phone users can install LiveTaxi to order a taxi.
The agency claims the app functions just like Uber, but has the advantage of connecting passengers with drivers employed by registered taxi firms.
The new app supposedly offers users a vast array of information, including a list of taxi drivers, their locations, their availability, passenger reviews, traffic conditions, etc.
Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the HCMC Transportation Department, said that this was the time for taxi firms to promote the use of modern technology for the convenience of passengers in the digital age.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities are rushing to create regulations for Uber, following complaints from local taxi associations.
In the latest action, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed the Ministry of Transportation to consider relevant proposals made by the Ho Chi Minh City Taxi Association.
According to the proposals, the HCMC Taxi Association condemned Uber as operating illegally in Vietnam, evading taxes and presenting unhealthy competition for local taxi firms.
The agency proposed the government shut Uber down until a legal framework for such a service has been drafted and issued by the government of Vietnam.
It also called for government support in creating new technology for local taxi firms.
In 2014, Uber launched in Ho Chi Minh City in July and Hanoi in December, prompting a wide controversy over the legality of its operation.
On December 19, Bui Danh Lien, chairman of the Hanoi Taxi Association, said his agency rejected Uber’s offer to collaborate, saying that Uber hadn't thoroughly studied the nation's laws.

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