Given that ride-hailing apps have become a fact of commuting life, it will help that Singaporeans can now depend on a formal licensing regime that will allow the authorities to mandate safety standards and act against breaches. There will be two licences: one for street-hail operators (currently taxi companies) and the other for ride-hail operators (such as Grab and Gojek). The Land Transport Authority will exercise tighter control of safety by tracking the number of accidents and driver offences. This control evidently is necessary given that the country has about 20,000 taxis and 45,000 private-hire cars, and that more than two-thirds of all point-to-point (P2P) commutes are made through ride-hailing apps, with the rest being street hails.
From the commuters’ point of view, the expansion of P2P transport has been all but a seamless boon. Before the entry of the ride-hail platforms in 2013, P2P services were provided mainly by taxis. Passengers were plagued by long waiting times and a lack of cabs, especially during peak hours. Much of that changed when ride-hail applications appeared, with more than two-thirds of all P2P trips being ride-hail trips, and 30 per cent being carried out by taxis, today. In just six years, an essential segment of Singapore’s transport landscape has changed, benefiting the customer who must be the ultimate judge of how demand-supply equations work. One indicator is that commuters now face shorter waiting times for both street-hail and ride-hail trips. Dynamic fares, on their part, provide price options that reflect the reality of peak and off-peak travel.