Grab recently announced that they were going to provide cross-border GrabHitch rides between Johor Bahru and Singapore to help alleviate the cost of travel as well as the legendary traffic jams. It seemed like a reasonable alternative to taking a cab, but Channel News Asia reports that this service, and other paid cross-border carpooling services, are actually illegal according to the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA).
According to this Channel News Asia report, Singapore’s LTA announced that paid cross-border carpooling services were against the law as Malaysian-registered vehicles are “not allowed to provide hire-and-reward services in Singapore without a public service vehicle licence”.
But, the LTA has noted that free cross-border rides are legal. As a result, Grab were forced to run a three-week free-fare pilot programme while they engaged with the LTA in Singapore as well as Malaysian regulatory authorities on the use of carpooling solutions and services.
CNA also reports that under section 101 of the Road Traffic Act, “any person caught using a foreign-registered motor vehicle as an unlicensed public service vehicle to convey passengers for hire and reward can be fined up to SGD3,000 and jailed up to six months”.
Ouch. I guess things didn’t go off without a hitch.