Buying a car is so expensive in Singapore nowadays, when COE premiums continue to break records. It’s no wonder, then, that people are turning to car-pooling or car-sharing services to get around.
Just earlier this month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) impounded two cars and one motorcycle for providing car-pooling and motorcycle-pooling services illegally.
Well, wherever business is booming, illegal business is booming too, it seems.
Vehicles Impounded For Investigation
In a Facebook post on 15 May, the LTA shared that it conducted an enforcement operation targeting drivers and motorcyclists offering car-pooling or motorcycle-pooling services illegally.
Two cars and one motorcycle were then impounded, in order to facilitate further investigations.
The LTA also offered a reminder that those who offer services like this illegally can be fined up to $3,000 or receive six months’ jail.
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For context, “illegally” means offering these services without a vocational licence, or using an unlicensed vehicle.
Results In Safety Concerns
Usually, these passengers engage illegal ride-sharing services through Telegram chat groups.
These groups, used to match passengers with drivers, are illegal and unregulated, resulting in safety concerns.
Because they’re unregulated, they don’t have adequate safeguards in place, like verifying driving licences or tracking booked trips, which poses a danger to passengers and drivers alike.
“For commuters’ own safety, we strongly encourage those who wish to book point-to-point transport services, including commercial car-pooling services, to do so via licensed business platforms,” LTA said in their Facebook post.
Illegal car-pooling services have been popular on the messaging app Telegram recently—one such group, called SG Car Hitch, has more than 190,000 members in it.
Group Chats Like These Actually Illegal
In case you still need a reminder, engaging in car-pooling services using group chats like these is illegal.
Still, people continue to take them up, possibly because they’re cheaper—sometimes, you can discuss prices with the driver via Telegram before you book the ride.
According to the LTA, these services are not allowed when provided through non-business mediums like Telegram chat groups.
These rides are also not exempt from harassment and safety concerns, with women citing unpleasant experiences like sexual harassment from these drivers. One driver even offered a woman a free ride if she allowed him to touch himself while stark naked while driving, prompting an understandably-disgusted reaction from her.
Her experience is not an isolated incident—a female student had to create a female-only car-pooling group chat because of this, which is, unfortunately, still illegal.
Where Can I Hitch A Ride?
If taking public transport just won’t do, you can hitch a ride through platforms like Grab and Gojek.
Even if they’re a little pricier, at least you can make sure you’re relatively safer.
Grab and Ryde offer that service if you’d like to car-pool, so you can do it legally through those platforms.
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