GrabHitch cross-border service now free after LTA says paid service violates regulations

The GrabHitch Johor Bahru-Singapore Inter-Country Service has been changed to a free three-week trial service.
The GrabHitch Johor Bahru-Singapore Inter-Country Service has been changed to a free three-week trial service.PHOTO: GRAB

SINGAPORE - Grab's ride-sharing service between Singapore and Johor Baru, which started on Monday (June 20), has been changed to a free three-week trial service after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that a paid service violated regulations in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Announced last Monday (June 13), the GrabHitch Johor Baru-Singapore Inter-Country Service (GrabHitch JB-SG) service originally offered drivers an average fare of $12 per rider, meant as compensation for petrol.

The LTA said that it had informed Grab that the original model did not comply with regulations.

"Malaysian registered cars are not allowed to provide hire and reward services in Singapore without a public service vehicle licence. Malaysian regulations also do not permit Singaporean registered cars to do the same in Malaysia without a public service vehicle licence," said an LTA spokesman, adding that the current GrabHitch free cross-border service is legal.


"Grab should ensure that any cross-border car-pool service does not contravene Singaporean or Malaysian regulations," she said.

A Grab spokesman said that it was currently running GrabHitch JB-SG as a "fare-free pilot programme" to test its feasibility.

She said: "During this three-week fare-free pilot, we will test out the model and engage with the LTA in Singapore and regulatory authorities in Malaysia on the use of carpooling solutions to improve connectivity between Singapore and Johor Baru."

Grab declined to comment on its plans following the three-week trial, which ends on July 8.

Carpooling regulations introduced in 2015 allow drivers to be paid for offering rides within Singapore, though payment should not exceed expenses incurred in ferrying passengers.

Introduced last November, ride-sharing service GrabHitch allows passengers to pay drivers based on pick-up and drop-off locations, with a trip from Jurong East to Tanjong Pagar costing $8.20, almost half of what a taxi ride would cost.