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Significance of taxi apps in a public transport/mrt breakdown

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Grabtaxi and uber are definitely necessary for Singapore but with changes needed.
The public transport system has proven itself unreliable once again with a breakdown of both the east-west and north-South major mrt lines. Almost as if a justification for the remarks by smrt ceo Desmond kuok that the public transport system is financially unsustainable, the Republic 2 main mrt lines came to a complete halt simultaneously during the evening peak on 7th July 2015. An estimated 250,000 commuters were affected at all 54 stations islandwide.

Whenever a mrt disruption occurs, shuttle buses will be “deployed” to ferry passengers between stations for free. The “shuttle buses” are likely to be the spare buses and the bus drivers who are not on duty under smrt and sbs bus services. The availability and speed of which they can be deployed can’t really be relied on if you want to go home on time to cook dinner for your family.

So most people would rather take a taxi but when the taxi stand has a queue of 50 people?
Your regular taxi app has the advantage over the standard phone booking because it is not limited to the only company you are calling.
Grabtaxi, hailo and easytaxi are three of the taxi booking apps in Singapore that doesn’t own their own fleet. There is also a very innovative taxi-taxi app that lets you know where the taxi are on the streets and where the passengers flagging ( for the cab drivers) are.
However if this taxi apps would help for such a situation where there are so many people stranded and rushing to get home.
That’s when the purpose of private cars rental might come into good use. Uber and the grabcar function under grabtaxi allows for the booking of private cars as taxis.

There has been a lot of discussion and debate over the legality of such business model as well as the safety issues and professionalism of the private drivers playing “cabbie” who does not have a taxi licence. If I am stuck in the mad jam of humans and super slow moving buses, I would really mind as long as I can get home fast. Some passengers have reportedly been willing to pay for 5 times the usual fares to be able to get home.

That being said the whole incident does illustrate the usefulness of such alternative “taxi” services in a country where bad planning have resulted in a strain on public transport infrastructure not being able to cope with demand.

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