”New carpooling laws allow drivers to be paid”
The headline is borrowed from a Straits Times news article that appeared on 6 March 2015. The link to the story is below and also in to the picture.
The LTA introduced new regulations to make clear what carpooling is. The title of the regulations is “The Road Traffics Act Car Pools Exemption Order of 2015” and it has been officially gazetted into the statutes of Singapore.
The regulations are mainly targeted at private car drivers. We summarize the keys points here:
1. You must be ‘on-the-way’. You cannot go out of your way to provide carpool rides just to collect a fee.
2. You can only offer a maximum of two carpool rides a day.
3. You cannot solicit passengers on a road, parking place or public stands.
4. The pick-up points, drop-off points, date and payment must all be agreed between driver and passengers before the start of the carpool ride.
5. You are not allowed to profit from offering carpool rides but you can recover the additional costs and expenses that you would incur from taking on passengers in your car.
How to interpret the regulations?
The regulations promote ‘true’ carpooling between people who live and work nearby. These are essentially neighbours at home and at work. They prevent private car drivers from running a for-profit transport service without a licence, under the guise of carpooling.
The first four of the points above are straightforward enough. But the fifth point on the cost recovery leaves some room for interpretation. We think that the “additional costs and expenses” would include things like increased petrol usage and more wear-and-tear on tires, brakes, suspension and the engine coming from the increased weight to the car. The driver may have to service the car more often and incur higher maintenance and replacement costs.
But there are many different types of cars and the travel distances can vary quite widely between carpoolers, so it is not easy to name a price that would be universally considered the cost-recovery rate for everyone.
So the most important thing is to have a clear agreement with the passengers on the route, the date and the cost-recovery price before the ride starts. This way, the passengers cannot turn around and claim that the cost-recovery price is unacceptable.
For a “reasonableness check”, the cost-recovery price should be significantly below what the taxi fare for the same distance would be, since the taxi fare would have a significant “profit” component.
An important new transport option!
In the past, drivers have been hesitant to offer carpool rides because the law is unclear about payment. Now that the new laws expressly allow carpooling, we hope that it would become an important transport option for Singapore residents going forward.
There are 550,000 private passenger cars on the road in Singapore. If 20% of these cars take on additional passengers, it would help ease crowdedness in public transport considerably.
ShareTransport.sg is Singapore’s number 1 car and bus pooling website by Google Search. There are over 23,000 users on the website and 500 more are joining every month.
It is easy to find drivers and passengers at ShareTransport.sg. You can search using the “Regular Routes” feature, or simply complete your profile and our system will match you automatically. Drivers can also indicate their preferences for passengers. For example, a lady driver might want to give rides to ladies only or a driver that prefers solitude in the morning can specify that she does not want to chat while driving.
If public transport doesn’t serve you well, why not give carpooling a try?