Back in March, we wrote about a Telegram group SG Hitch which serves as a platform to connect drivers with people looking to hitch rides in Singapore.
Think GrabHitch, but cheaper and available anytime round the clock, as long as you can find someone willing to pick you up.
Hitchers post their requests on the group chat, and drivers who are able to fetch them will send them a private message to discuss the price.
The group had around 5,000 members when we wrote about it, and by October their numbers have already soared to more than 40,000.
There’s no doubt that online groups like these are popular among Singaporeans. They combine the perks of cheap (sometimes free) deals with human goodwill and community spirit.
More recently, a similar group called SGBikeTaxi was also created to let people hitch motorcycle rides.
Since starting in 4 October, it gathered more than 2,000 members.
Just like how SGHitch works, members on SGBikeTaxi would post messages headlined with “Pillion looking for rider”, along with details like their pick-up and drop-off location, and the time they need the ride.
Willing riders would privately message the pillion to fix a price together.
The group emphasised that arrangements are made on “mutual agreement” and both parties must “understand the risk he/she takes”.
It also laid out strict rules that members must use a display picture bearing their face, or they will be banned from the group.
Members who didn’t show up for rides without a reason or rode dangerously would also be banned.
While it may seem useful, it definitely raises concerns about legality.
Even companies like Gojek have not been allowed to offer motorcycle-hailing in Singapore.
Earlier today (23 October), Straits Times reported that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) says it is illegal for motorcyclists to offer ferrying services for passengers.
They may also have their motorbike’s insurance coverage declared void if they’re found doing so.
In an attempt to avoid trouble, SGBikeTaxi’s administrators told members not to mention that payment was involved if they were stopped on the roads for checks.
Sometime around 2.40pm, Vulcan Post found that SGBikeTaxi seems to have been taken down from Telegram altogether.
It is uncertain whether the group’s members or creators are currently facing any legal consequences.
The group had 2,188 members just before it was removed.
If you’re hoping to find someone to fetch you somewhere, SG Hitch is still available, and it’s probably the safer option to go with anyway.
The people behind it have also branched out into more Telegram groups that specifically let you hitch rides to Johor Bahru, provide Singapore road updates, and traffic updates at customs checkpoints.
However, groups like these are unregulated and also do not have LTA’s official approval, so use them at your own discretion too.