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You can now take a Grab car from Singapore to Malaysia (and back)

It’s one of the first country-to-country ride-hail services in the world.

Asa Mathat

Close to 400,000 commuters pass through a series of tolls between Singapore and Malaysia on a daily basis, and many of these commuters are traveling in their own private cars, according to Singapore’s immigration authority.

Singapore authorities are actively looking for solutions to the city-state’s traffic congestion problems, given its limited landmass.

That’s why Grab, Southeast Asia’s local ride-hail app, has enabled “Hitch” rides between Singapore and Malaysia. The operating theory is Hitch, which is Grab’s (and Didi’s) version of UberPool and Lyft Line, would help cut down on the flow of private cars commuting between the countries.

But Hitch, unlike Grab’s other services in Singapore, doesn’t require a commercially licensed driver to operate the car. That means regular commuters who own cars can pick up other passengers using the app.

The company conducted its own survey of its riders who typically commute along this route and found that 88 percent were willing to carpool and 89 percent of car owners would be willing to pick up other people on their way to and from work.

Commuters will be able to schedule a Hitch ride up to seven days in advance. While drivers won’t be required to have commercial licenses, Grab ensures each driver is licensed and doesn’t have any traffic offenses. It’s unclear how regulators in Singapore will respond given the fact that, until recently, only native Singaporeans were allowed to drive for a commercial taxi service.

This new dedicated GrabHitch route is one of the first country-to-country ride-hail services in the world. Europe’s BlaBlaCar also offers country-to-country service. Uber offers a similar service from the U.S. to Mexico, but while riders can take an Uber from Los Angeles to Tijuana, they can’t hail an Uber back.

Update: This post was updated to include a mention of BlaBlaCar’s similar service.

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