COVID-19: Ministry of Transport Issues Order to Suspends Private Carpooling Services

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(Photo Credit: SG Hitch / Telegram

Telegram groups such as SG Hitch may be a thing of the past. This comes after the Minister of Transport issued an order to suspend private carpooling services.

According to the SSO (Singapore Statutes Online) on 16 April 2020, this new legislation invalidates the previous Road Traffic (Car Pools) (Exemption) Order 2015 (G.N. No. S 94/2015), which was passed back in 2015.

Carpooling services have always been a controversial topic and a grey area for the transport sector. They have undergone massive scrutiny, especially during these difficult times, when businesses for cabbies and private hire drivers took a massive hit.

On 6 April 2020, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA), which is an affiliate of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), claimed that it had “gotten confirmation from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that carpool service is not considered as an essential service” during the Circuit Breaker period.

Although companies such as Grab and Ryde have complied by suspending their carpooling services, Telegram groups such as SG Hitch were still matching drivers and hitchers together.

Very often, these carpooling services come at a discounted price as compared to services provided by Grab or Ryde.

At the point of writing, users are still actively looking for private ride arrangements within the group, which has approximately 56,000 users.

However, there are a small minority of users leaving the group in fear of flouting the new measures passed.

It is unclear why these telegram groups are still functioning. However, one thing is for sure, social car pooling services is not deemed as an essential service.


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