Two Apps have appear into Singapore Taxi Booking systems, namely the Easy Taxi and Grab Taxi. They allowed commuters to book the taxi via their apps, taxi drivers to get their booking who have sign up with the company.
These two company comes to Singapore with a big bang! How are they going to affect the taxi booking landscape in Singapore? This is everybody guess… Let me as a Taxi driver as well as commuters (on weekends) see the apps in my view.
Let me starts off with the application as a commuter:
Not very user-friendly, give up trying to use the apps after a few attempts. Currently, commuters do no need to pay booking charges to the driver as now they are having promotion.
A far more user-friendly apps which allow us to see how many taxi available in the area, see how many taxi bidding for the our job, track the location of the taxi that have successfully bided our job. Two Way communication is made available as driver’s mobile number is shown to the commuters.
As I have limited usage as a commuter, I would leave other users who often use the apps to post the comments in my blog on the apps.
Right now, as a taxi driver, I use the apps every day to get extra jobs for myself. I will touch on each individual apps that I have used.
Easy Taxi – Drivers
Easy to use as almost guarantee that the job will be yours if accept it. It’s currently offer driver SGD $5 per job completed. IT can be used on Andriod Only. Currently it does not charge any fee to drivers to take up their booking.
The downside of the apps are as follows:
1. The job offered can be as far as 8Km away which is not very practical in Singapore. It might be useful in area like Tuas, Jurong Island & Loyang area but not in town area.
2. Nothing to complain about except that their promotion and marketing are lagging behind Grab Taxi, thus we driver concentrate on Grab Taxi then Easy Taxi (will explain in detail later).
Grab Taxi – Drivers
Currently available in Andriod Phone only. With all the happening going on, I’m using Iphone which is not available, make me purchase a cheap Hua Wei Andriod phone to test out how good the Apps is.
To encourage drivers to take up their booking, they are having a promotion now for the drivers till 2nd March 2014, on top of the booking charge payable by commuters :
1. Make twelve booking in a week will receive a bonus of SGD $88.
2. Additional payment of $9 for taking booking during their declared peak hours while non peak entitle the drivers SGD $6.
Due to the promotion they are having now, commuters are able to book a taxi easily as a lot of taxi are going after the extra payment by the Grab Taxi.
In general, their Apps are quite easy to use and they only charge SGD $0.30 per booking completed.
Due to the popular demand from Commuters, there are also some improvement can be enhance on. Based on my two weeks experience using their Apps, the following concern which I hoped that Grab Taxi can improved on:
1. With increase number of booking during peak hours, the refreshing rate can be as fast as less than quarter of a second, this happen to me on the first friday evening (14 Feb 2014). We driver will not able to see where is the booking from.
2. When drivers bid for a job, drivers might need to wait for up to 15 seconds to see if they had successfully bid for the job. This is a potential hazard for taxi drivers as they might not know which direction they should be heading to.
3. Booking usually confirm to the nearest taxi driver (eg 0.1km).
The above mention concern could be improved as follows (in my view):
i. Despatch booking to only certain number (say 5 taxi drivers) and this can increase the number of confirmation booking at a short period.
ii. Instead of using shortest possible distance, use a radius of 1km range (increasing the range if no taxi drivers are not bidding for the job) to dispatch the booking.
iii. Fastest finger gets rule. This can almost give shortest possible time confirmation to the commuters and taxi drivers.
4. We taxi driver are constantly on the road and booking offer comes, we need to double confirm the booking thus it created a road hazard for the taxi driver. Thus suggesting that confirmation of acceptance of the job should be made once only not twice.
Now having saying the pro and con of the Apps from Easy Taxi and Grab Taxi, how would these two Apps affecting the landscape of the taxi booking system in Singapore?
Well, as of the current system, with no extra incentives to the taxi driver, whichever booking comes first from the company booking or the Apps booking, the taxi driver will take it. That is to say, most of the time, Comfort or SMRT booking system will always comes first before the Apps booking comes. Thus there are chances that the drivers taking Apps booking will be greatly reduced. Unless the driver are so sensitive to the charges the company levied SGD$0.30 from Grab Taxi compared to SGD $0.40 from Comfort or SGD $0.50 from SMRT. But however, those taxi driver from other taxi company apart from Comfort or SMRT will continue to use the Apps as their company taxi booking is very limited.
How the landscape is going to changed is very much depend on the commuters and taxi drivers. How supportive they are towards the Apps. Also, how the Apps going to impact on the revenue of the taxi companies, how much decrease of their revenue, what kind of counter measure are they going to take? Would they be forced to combine forces and create an integrated booking system? All the answer will be known after the taxi start to report their earning or any counter measure they have made.
In conclusion, I would very much support the Apps and in line with what I had previously blogged. It definitely will help to decrease the monopoly of certain taxi company thus resulting better benefit for the taxi drivers as well as the commuters.
Lastly, I would like to see a direct competition from the Apps company by offering direct call centre to engage the commuters who wants to book a taxi through them. Engaged LTA to have the Apps address printed on all the Taxi Stand so that commuters can know how to book the taxi through their Apps and it could gain recognition from the authority as well.
I would write another blog on how the situation after all incentive ends for the two Apps.