Commuters and drivers will be able to tap Grab's GrabHitch service from 22 June 2020, but the ride-sharing service GrabShare, will remain suspended.
GrabHitch resumed but GrabShare remains suspended Grab said that new safety measures for its ride-hailing service will gradually be extended to GrabHitch as well. PHOTO: ST FILE

Commuters and drivers will be able to tap Grab's social carpooling service from 22 June 2020, after a two-month suspension of the service.

But the firm's popular ride-sharing service, GrabShare, will remain suspended. Grab said this is as the service allows the sharing of rides of up to three groups of passengers at any one time, which may thus increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection.

Grab's move to resume its GrabHitch service comes after Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said on 17 June 2020 that paid carpool services made through booking platforms can resume from Friday as Singapore enters phase two of its reopening.

Such services, which are offered by Grab and local ride-hailing operator Ryde, were temporarily banned after stepped-up measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak started on 7 April 2020.

Fares for such trips are usually lower than typical ride-hailing and taxi fares. This is so because the fares are meant to help non-commercial drivers to just cover their costs.

Grab said the GrabHitch service will resume from 10:00am on 22 June 2020 with additional precautions required from both drivers and commuters. "GrabHitch drivers are not allowed to accept more than one booking per trip, capped at three passengers per ride and are recommended to have all passengers seated at the back of the vehicle as part of safe distancing measures," a spokesman said.

"It is mandatory for all drivers and passengers to wear a mask when they are out. If either party shows up without a mask or appears unwell, passengers and drivers can cancel the booking." Grab added that new safety measures for its ride-hailing service, which will start from 1 July 2020, will gradually be extended to GrabHitch as well.

This includes requiring drivers to submit an online health and hygiene declaration form and a selfie with a mask on. Passengers will not be allowed to take the front seat. "As the situation remains fluid, we stand ready to adjust our services in response to the current COVID-19 situation," said Grab.

Dr. Janil said on Wednesday that carpool services booked through mobile apps will be allowed to resume, as required information for contact tracing can be recorded at the point of booking the trip. "Paid carpool services arranged through informal platforms such as chat groups are not OK and cannot resume because there are no means to record trip and passenger details," he added.