Analyzing Singapore’s ride-hailing regulation through its technocracy using social practice theory

Sreyus Palliyani, Der-Horng Lee

Article ID: 1254
Vol 5, Issue 1, 2021

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Ride-hailing or private hire has taken the Singapore transport network by storm in the past few years. Singapore has had more than three revisions of its ride-hailing regulation in the six years since the arrival of the disruptive technology. Often quoted in the list of cities with commendable public transport policy, Singapore still manages to find a viable and significant position for ride-hailing. Cities from around the world are all searching for a model of regulation for ride-hailing that can be elevated as a benchmark. Singapore, to a large extent, has formulated a successful model based on current market parameters and, more importantly, an adaptive one that evolves constantly with the constantly disruptive technology. The experts and regulators of the Singapore transport sector were interviewed in depth, tapping into their opinions and technocratic commentaries on the city-state’s Point-to-Point, or P2P, sector regulation. The data were analyzed using the three-element model of social practice theory as an alternative to conventional behavioral studies, thereby eliminating bias on the commuters and rather shifting focus to the practice. Content analysis utilizing QDA is executed for categorization through fine-level inductive matrix coding to elaborate upon the policy derivatives of the Singapore model. The unique addition of the research to ride-hailing policy is the comprehension of the commonalities and patterns across industrial and technological disruption, practice and policy irrespective of sectoral variations, thanks to the utilization of social practice theory. The first-of-its-kind policy exercise in the sector can be repeated for any city, which is a direct testament to the simplicity and exhaustivity of the methodology, benefiting both operators and investors through equitable policy formulation.


private hire; ride-hailing; transport policy; social practice theory; transport regulation

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