The largest carpooling Telegram Group in Singapore SG Hitch has halted operations. It came shortly after The Straits Times reported that the Transport Ministry of Singapore has revoked a law allowing carpooling.
Anyone caught offering carpooling services face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail up to 6 months. The purpose of the new law is to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
Social carpooling services Grabhitch and Rydepool per pax service have also stopped operating during this period.
What is this SG Hitch Telegram Group
The Telegram group was formed more than a year ago in early 2019. Users comprising of riders and drivers swamped to join the group. It was reported that more than 1,300 members joined within 2 weeks.
The group stated in their pinned message that they serve as a bridge between drivers and hitchers and Hitchers to provide a CHEAPER alternative with the demolition of late-night Grab Hitch services.
Grabhitch service was made unavailable between 1 am to 5 am from 1 October 2018.
As it is an unregulated social group, both riders and drivers need to agree on a price for the trip between themselves. Drivers looking for hitchers can key in their trip details such as pick-up and drop-off points, time and number of pax. Hitchers looking for drivers also key in similar details.
No commission was payable to any operator.
Many private-hire and taxi-drivers were puzzled why was this SG Hitch Telegram Group not stopped in the first place.
Since there were already commercial and social carpooling services like Grabhitch and RydePool, why was this group even allowed to operate?