SINGAPORE: Drivers caught providing hire-and-reward carpool services between Singapore and Johor without a valid public service vehicle licence (PSVL) could be jailed and fined, Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) warned on Saturday (Dec 28).
In response to CNA queries about the imminent launch of Sameride – a mobile app that offers carpooling services between Johor and Singapore – LTA said it took a "serious view" towards foreign-registered vehicles illegally providing hire-and-reward services.
The authority added that it would take "strong enforcement action" against such illegal activities.
Sameride announced in a press release on Friday that its app will be fully operational from Monday and that commuters between JB and Singapore can offer or request rides "a few hours or a few days" before their journey.
"No long-term commitments of established carpools are needed. Using the app, drivers reduce the costs of their commute and riders benefit from getting fast rides between their homes/parking lots and offices," Sameride said.
According to its press release, almost 300 commuters between Singapore and Johor have pre-registered on the app over the past two weeks.
LTA said on Saturday that foreign-registered vehicles are not allowed to provide cross-border passenger transport services for hire or reward in Singapore without a PSVL.
"Any person caught providing hire and reward services, including cross-border carpooling service without a valid PSVL, can be fined up to S$3,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both. The vehicle used may also be forfeited," said a LTA spokesperson.
The authority "strongly urges" people against engaging cross-border hire-and-reward services provided by drivers of unlicensed vehicles, as the vehicles might not be sufficiently insured against third party liabilities.
"Passengers who ride in such vehicles may not be entitled to insurance recourse if they are involved in a traffic accident while travelling in such vehicles," the spokesperson added.
CNA has approached Sameride for comment on whether its registered drivers will be using licensed vehicles.
As of Saturday afternoon, the app had a handful of carpool offers and requests between the heartland areas of Singapore and downtown areas of Johor Bahru, such as JB Sentral and Larkin.
Sameride estimates that users who commute between Johor and Singapore will be able to reduce the cost of their commute by up to half as compared to taxi services.