Private-hire car Drivers can no longer offer private ride arrangement outside of the ride-hailing applications.
The New Paper reported that all rides are to be offered only through approved ride-hailing platforms such as Grab and Go-Jek.
Tightening of loophole
The tightening of measures came shortly after the banning of carpool during this coronavirus period. The Transport Ministry revoked a carpooling law on 16 April 2020. Anyone caught offering carpooling services faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail up to 6 months.
The largest carpooling Telegram chat group with more than 55,000 members swiftly halted operations. However, it was found to have renamed and was continue to operate. It updated its pinned message to users.
“Carpooling refers to sharing, as long no sharing its OK. Consider it as PRIVATE BOOKING”
It later updated its message to the following when they found the loophole. Carpooling refers to sharing. Authorised ferrying drivers may consider it as PRIVATE BOOKING!
The new rule will ban all private ride arrangement between drivers and riders. Any ride-booking that is not booked through a ride-hailing platform like Grab or Go-Jek would be considered illegal now.
Dangerous during this period
Contact tracing and enforcement of safe distancing during the ride are likely to the main concern for banning all forms of carpooling during this period.
Booking through applications will have all the details of the trip captured but private booking arrangements will make contact tracing difficult if there is a need.
Support for Drivers affected by COVID-19
The majority of private-hire and taxi drivers are badly affected by the outbreak and the extended circuit breaker. Some drivers have taken up GrabFood and GrabExpress jobs to supplement their income while many are still waiting aimlessly on the roads.
The government has introduced the Self-employed Person Income Relief Scheme that will be open for application from 27 April 2020. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook as we update you on how you can apply and how to appeal.