LTA Lifts 2-Passenger Limit, But Masks Are Still Mandatory
When Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) started on 16 May, social gatherings were capped at 2 people.
Some may not have realised that the rule also covered taxis and private-hire cars (PHCs), who were not allowed to take more than 2 passengers.
As we transition into Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from 14 Jun, groups of up to 5 will be allowed again. That means the 2-passenger limit will similarly be relaxed.
Car-pooling services via GrabHitch and RydePool will also be allowed, so a cheaper ride to work will be possible again.
More than 2 can cram
In a press release on Friday (11 Jun), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will lift the 2-passenger limit for taxis and PHCs next week.
That means more than 2 passengers will be able to cram into the vehicles, up to a limit of 5.
However, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to take that many passengers unless they’re mostly children.
After P2HA led more Singaporeans to stay at home, the limit had naturally affected the income of drivers even further.
With this relaxation, together with the move to P3HA, drivers will hope to ferry more passengers in a day.
Masks must still be worn
However, LTA warned that it’s still mandatory for all passengers and the driver to wear masks at all times.
Drivers have been told to refuse to take passengers who’re not wearing masks.
The LTA also strongly encouraged all drivers and passengers to bring their TraceTogether tokens or turn on their TraceTogether apps during the ride.
This is to facilitate contact tracing efforts.
Commercial car-pooling also allowed
Commercial car-pooling services will also be allowed to resume from 14 Jun, LTA said.
However, that’s only for rides matched through licensed platforms like GrabHitch and RydePool.
In a Facebook post on Saturday (12 Jun), Grab said GrabHitch would make a comeback, but Hitch rides will not be shared.
That means drivers won’t be allowed to stack rides – i.e. accept more than 1 booking per trip. That’s to prevent mingling of strangers across households in the same ride.
Drivers and riders must also wear masks at all times and are encouraged to use TraceTogether.
Of course, paid car-pooling trips arranged through informal platforms, like Telegram groups, are still illegal.
Car-pooling among friends & family allowed
Some might wonder whether they’ll be allowed to give lifts to their friends, family members and colleagues.
The good news is that LTA has said car-pooling trips without payment, between people who know one another, are also allowed.
However, that’s subject to the permissible group size of 5, unless they’re from the same household.
That said, if your vehicle can sit more than 5 people comfortably, congrats on buying an SUV.
Hopefully drivers’ incomes will rise
With the relaxation of rules for P3HA, taxi and private-hire drivers will hopefully see their incomes rise.
If you can afford it, do support our cabbie uncles by during this tough period.
Though the number of daily has Covid-19 cases has dropped somewhat, we should still be responsible and observe social distancing rules strictly to avoid a resurgence.
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Featured image adapted from MS News.