Sameride, an on-demand carpool app from the United States, claims that it is not subject to LTA regulations on e-hailing.
This is because it is apparently not a taxi app, but rather a "messaging and social platform."
Not a taxi app
According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), cars from Malaysia cannot provide transport services from Johor to Singapore unless they have a public service vehicle licence (PSVL).
However, Sameride emphasised in its statement that it is not an e-hailing app.
Unlike a taxi or a private hire vehicle app, Sameride does not operate a fleet of cars or hire drivers to provide rides.
Instead, it is a "messaging and social platform" that groups users by home areas, work areas, and commuting schedules.
As such, Sameride responds that the app is not subject to regulatory requirements for private hire vehicle apps.
The app was fully operational in both Singapore and Johor, Malaysia since Dec. 30, 2019.
Sameride claims to have had over 500 ride offers and requests on its first day of operation.
How does Sameride work?
Both riders and drivers have to sign up with the app by providing their email addresses and names.
The app will feature a rating system to help in carpool partner selection.
On top of matching drivers and riders who live and work in similar areas, the Sameride app also allows users to schedule their own dates and timings for commuting.
When drivers create ride offers or riders create ride requests, they are able to see offers or requests that overlap with their own commuting schedules, as well as home and work destinations.
To fulfill LTA requirements for carpools, the app does not allow more than two offers or requests per day.
Negotiate costs yourselves
Sameride does not regulate the cost of each ride, and it does not facilitate the transfer of payment between its users at the moment.
As such, Sameride commuters must come to a mutual agreement about ride costs.
Some commuters said that they were quoted prices of around S$38 to S$90 per person for a driver to pick them up at a location in Singapore and drop them off in Johor Bahru, CNA reports.
One commuter who was quoted a price of S$90 claimed that the amount is around the same price as a licensed tourist taxi.
According to CNA, some Malaysian drivers also did not have the PSVL.
Top image via Sameride website.