Did you know? The land border crossing between Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, is the busiest in the world—used by 400,000 people daily. If you live in Johor and work in Singapore, chances are you already use the cross-border bus service or available (legal and illegal) carpool services daily. Ride-sharing platform Grab announced a carpooling service between the two nations recently called GrabHitch, but it seems the service has hit a wall.
The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) has informed Grab that its service model “did not comply with regulations in Singapore.” The fact of the matter is, Malaysian-registered cars are not allowed to provide hire-and-reward services in Singapore without a public service vehicle license. Likewise in Malaysia, Singapore-registered cars are not allowed to provide these services without a license. As a matter of fact, even Malaysian-registered cars are not allowed to provide hire-and-reward services without a proper license.
Channel NewsAsia reported 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 S$3,000 and jailed up to six months.”
The LTA has, however, noted that free cross-border carpooling is legal.
Here’s an interesting fact. On the weekend before GrabHitch was supposed to launch, Grab informed users on its website that the service would be a three-week-long fare-free pilot program. Initially, it had published fare estimates, with an average cost of S$12 per trip.
Grab is said to be working with the LTA and authorities in Malaysia on the use of carpooling between the two countries.
With the aim of alleviating traffic congestion and providing an alternative mode of transport between Singapore and Johor Bahru, GrabHitch isn’t the most economical. Having said that, you’ll be riding in relative comfort, and also not have to be squeezed like sardines on public transport. For drivers, it makes better use of their vehicles, which otherwise may be empty on their journey.
So what do you think? Is GrabHitch a good idea? Would you carpool across the Causeway?
Header image credit: Wikimapia.org