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LTA's Verdict On GrabHitch's Johor-Singapore Carpool Service: "Free, OK. Paid, Not OK"

Last Monday (13 Jun), GrabHitch, the carpooling arm of ride-hiring service Grab, announced the launch its new Johor Bahru-Singapore Inter-Country Service, which would start on the next Monday (20 Jun).

The rides can be pre-booked between 7 days and 30 minutes in advance, and the system then matches drivers with passengers based on pick-up and drop-off locations. A trip between Singaporeans’ favourite weekend haunt City Square shopping center in Johor Baru and Northern estate Woodlands was said to start from RM9 (SGD$3) per pax, and the bill can be paid by cash or credit card.

A chart by Grab also gave sample fares for the more popular routes.

Image Credit: Grab

The service was an attempt to address the congestion woes frequent cross-border travellers experience on a day-to-day basis.

Said GrabHitch head Ngiam Xin Wei, “The high cost of travelling, frequent congestion and lack of point-to-point transportation between Johor Baru and Singapore are compelling reasons for us to introduce the GrabHitch JB-SG service.”

As an introductory offer, GrabHitch’s cross-border service was also announced to be free from 20 June to 8 July 2016.

Free Carpooling: Ok; Paid Service: Not Ok

While all was expected to go well starting yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday (20 Jun) that it had informed Grab that its ‘hire-and-reward’ service “did not comply with regulations in Singapore”.

LTA clarified, though, that the ongoing free carpooling service is legal.

When asked by Channel NewsAsia, an LTA spokesperson said that both Singaporean and Malaysian-register cars are not allowed to provide such paid services without a public service vehicle licence in both countries.

Grab is said to be currently “engaging with the LTA in Singapore and regulatory authorities in Malaysia on the use of carpooling solutions to improve connectivity between SG and JB”, and will review the results of the free (and legal) pilot programme after the three weeks.

 

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