Let’s be honest, getting around Singapore with young children via public transport is a hassle at best. But with Uber’s exit and Grab’s prices soaring (bid adieu to promo codes!), what’s a mum with tots in tow gotta do to get a smooth, and affordable ride home? Ahead, we share new and upcoming ride-sharing apps to keep a look out for.
Starting out as a carpooling app, RYDE launched RydeX, its private-hire car service a couple of months back. Unlike Grab, RydeX offers scheduled service based on advanced bookings – rides can be booked anywhere from 10 minutes prior, to seven days in advance, and waiting time averages 20 minutes.
While details on the pricing structure are still unclear, Ryde’s chief executive Terence Zou has assured that the lower commission taken from their drivers (Ryde takes a 10 per cent cut of each fare compared to Grab and Uber’s 20 per cent) will translate into lower fares for commuters. What we do know, is that fixed rides include surcharges and ERP fees, and it’s dynamic pricing will fluctuate based on supply and demand.
Plus, the app even conveniently shows how much your ride will cost you on platforms like Grab and ComfortDelGro – saving us the hassle of toggling between apps for price checks.
Want more control over ride costs? Jugnoo, the fourth player in Singapore’s private-hire ride-hailing market could be your ride. The Indian firm offers a novel way to emphasise price transparency: through a reverse-bidding system. Basically, when a rider makes a booking, drivers can bid for the ride through three options – Jugnoo’s suggested price, a price 10 per cent higher, and a price 10 per cent lower. Drivers can then either bid by selecting one of the three, or input their own price, while riders can choose their ride based on the driver’s rating, bid price and waiting time. Jugnoo has already rolled out its services, so parents who don’t mind a little transport experimentation can try their hand it!
Touted as Grab’s biggest competitor in Southeast Asia, Indonesian start-up Go-Jek’s rumoured plans to foray into Singapore will definitely be interesting if it comes to fruition. After all, Go-Jek has already successfully gone beyond the ride-hailing market, offering delivery on everything from food, groceries, medicine and other services. Plus, it is backed by tech giants such as Google, Tencent and Temasek Holdings, and is tipped to be in talks with ComfortDelGro for a tie-up to enter the Singapore market – all the more to watch out for it’s imminent arrival!
Throwing its hat into the local market, Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) is Singapore’s first blockchain on-demand ride booking service. In a nutshell, it acts as a bridge to connect drivers and users directly, eliminating the commission fees that come with using a middleman. When it arrives, MVL will likely use two types of pricing systems: a fixed-fare rate and metered pricing. Additionally, the MVL app allows users to earn MVL points, which can be converted into cryptocurrency coins that can be converted into cash or exchanged for goods and services at partnered establishments. Watch out for its arrival in end-July!
Yet another homegrown startup, SWAT stands out from the ride-sharing crowd as a minibus service that caters to at least four passengers, with a maximum load of 13. It currently offers three types of services: Pre-booked rides (up to one day in advance), scheduled rides and on-demand rides, and uses real-time data to determine optimal routes and affordable fares. In fact, SWAT promises a flat fare of never more than $7.99, and a journey that takes no more than 25 per cent longer than a taxi ride. Commuters will get on and off at areas near their designated pickup or drop-off points (not more than 300 metres away).
While we’re all aboard SWAT, a huge downside for eager customers is that the timeframe for pick-ups and drop-offs is narrow. It currently runs from 7am to 10am daily from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), around selected areas. Which means that SWAT can be an alternative travel option when dropping your kids off school in the morning, but not so much if you’re trying to get a ride home in the evenings.
NOTE: Singapore road safety laws requires for anyone below the height of 1.35m to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for their height and weight, use a booster seat to supplement the seatbelt or an adjustable seat belt.
While Grab (and previously Uber) offers family-friendly options that provide booster seats for kids, it’s still unclear if the new players are as adequately equipped. Thus, it’s best to bring your own equipment when on the go!