Singapore taxi operator ComfortDelGro announced yesterday (Jan 28) that that it is adding 25 private-hire cars to its fleet as part of a ride-hailing trial.
These cars are not allowed to do street hires, but will be available for booking from February 4.
This means that ComfortDelGro users can choose to book a taxi, or either a taxi or private-hire car, on its app. This is similar to the JustGrab option on rival Grab’s mobile app.
In terms of pricing, ComfortDelGro said that it follows ComfortRIDE’s current fare structure.
It added that the commission fee for the booking jobs will be lower than the market rate during the trial, which will mean more earnings for those who join the scheme early.
ComfortDelGro is currently Singapore’s biggest taxi company with over 10,000 cabs and by adding more private cars, it can quickly expand its fleet without having to actually own the vehicles.
After the trial ends in March, ComfortDelGro will assess response to the service and gradually open it up to more private-hire car drivers.
Not Its First Rodeo In Ride-Hailing
This news came after ComfortDelGro was awarded a three-year ride-hailing service operator license in October last year under the new Point-to-Point (P2P) Passenger Transport Industry Act.
This bill aims to regulate ride-hailing fares and make it “transparent” with clear pricing policies.
ComfortDelGro had made an earlier foray into the ride-hailing market in late 2017 when it partnered with ride-hailing giant Uber to allow ComfortDelGro taxis to be booked through the Uber app.
However, the partnership fell through when Grab announced it was acquiring Uber’s business in Southeast Asia.
This new ride-hailing trial could be a way for the taxi operator to cope with the losses it has been suffering following the drop in ridership during COVID-19.
According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), demand for rides is hovering at about 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
Some drivers also reported up to a 70 per cent fall in income during the “circuit breaker” period as tourist numbers fell and many people worked from home.
However, this new service would definitely help to increase the supply of rides for commuters and consequently expand ridership for its taxi drivers.
Featured Image Credit: ComfortDelGro