4 drivers caught by LTA for providing illegal cross-border rides between Singapore and Malaysia

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SINGAPORE – Four drivers have been nabbed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for providing cross-border chauffeured services between Singapore and Malaysia without the required licence.

LTA on Feb 21 said it caught the drivers during an enforcement operation the previous week, and investigations into these cases are ongoing.

It uploaded a Facebook post with photos that showed multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) stopped by LTA officers or being towed away.

Vehicles are not allowed to provide cross-border passenger transport services for hire without a valid public service vehicle licence (PSVL), LTA said. The offence carries a fine of up to $3,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both. The vehicle used may also be forfeited.

Bookings of cross-border ride hail services – including those made through social media and messaging platforms such as Facebook and Telegram – are illegal, an LTA spokesperson said.

Cautioning the public against using services offered by unlicensed providers, the spokesperson said: “These vehicles might not be insured and could potentially leave passengers without recourse if they are involved in a traffic accident.”

LTA is working with platforms such as Klook, KKday and Google to remove advertisements of illegal cross-border services, and some have been taken down, the spokesperson added.

In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said he has asked the LTA to take a firm stance against such unlawful practices, and to conduct undercover operations to catch errant drivers.

“To the drivers who are thinking of offering such illegal services, let me say this: Think carefully before breaking the rules, as you never know if your next ‘customer’ is actually an undercover LTA officer,” he added.

The Straits Times found more than 10 websites and listings on online marketplaces like Carousell providing cross-border chauffeur services targeted at travellers from Singapore.

One website from a company with an office address in Johor Bahru offered tours and airport transfers with MPVs. A one-way trip to the Senai Airport in JB with a seven-seater Toyota Alphard MPV is priced at $130.

On another website, a door-to-door chauffeur service from Singapore to various shopping malls in JB is priced between $70 and $110.

While some operators mention insurance coverage, none say they have the required licence to operate the cross-border service.

LTA said Singaporean and Malaysian taxis that have been licensed to provide cross-border services are available for hire at Ban San Street Terminal and Johor Larkin Terminal, which are the designated pick-up and drop-off points for cross-border taxi services.

Passengers can also book cross-border trips through licensed Singapore taxi operators.

In April 2022, The Straits Times reported that there were about 240 taxis that have the needed licence to ferry passengers between Singapore and JB.

In 2019, four drivers were convicted of providing illegal chauffeured services with foreign-registered vehicles. Each of them was fined $1,400 and three of the four vehicles were forfeited. LTA said then that it had applied to the court to seize the remaining vehicle.

Since 2022, 12 drivers have been caught for providing illegal cross-border passenger transport services with foreign-registered vehicles, LTA said. The penalties for those convicted so far include fines of up to $1,800 and vehicle forfeiture.

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