Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Future of Singapore Transport 2016

I just read this piece of news from Today. Amazing.

$5 to get to anywhere! That's what SWAT has proposed.

So, what's the catch?
  1. Advance booking (30mins in advance, or by 10pm the night before) 
  2. Share ride with others
  3. Designated pick up locations (within 300m)
The additional limitations because it is in it's initial phase are that location and timings are limited, but of course, as with all businesses, if they are successful, they are planning to increase the coverage and also operation timing.

Personally, I think that this is quite ambitious, but I am definitely rooting for them. I use Android, so unfortunately, I am unable to try their service. 

I've always thought that Beeline was an interesting idea. Maybe with the increased awareness of SWAT, Beeline would also get a boost and we can see more of these novel modes of transport options become more readily available to commuters with a general increase in adoption.

I still feel that the gap between a regular public transport commuter (BMW - bus, MRT and walk) and being a private car owner is huge.

I have mentioned that Uber/Grab and other taxi alternatives do come in nicely in between, but I feel like it's slightly on the premium side because it's essentially just leveraging on technology to decrease the matching and idle time of traditional taxis.

The introduction of UberPool and GrabHitch is really a game changer because it allows increase utility and efficiency of transport vehicles, especially when commuters have routes that overlap. Of course, while being less comfortable (private), it is cheaper, as it should be.

I feel that Beeline and SWAT are coming in slightly below UberPool / GrabHitch to offer many multiple riders who have a lot of route overlap, but also want more convenience than public transport and are willing to pay more for it. Their pricing is also obviously cheaper than UberPool and GrabHitch, so I think that my infographic is pretty accurate.

I ranked bus on the most extreme end of the spectrum because.... standing in a crowded bus sucks ass way more than standing in a crowded train. Gotta compare apples to apples, yeah?

Public transport should focus on being cheap, no-frills and connective. Leave the extras and premiums for the private market to figure out. I think that the government is doing a good job allowing a rather free play on this (at least, seemingly).

Honestly, the emergence of transport alternatives is a GOOD thing, especially for people that take public transport. Firstly, taxes from everybody still goes into transport infrastructure and public transport. However, if there are less riders on buses and MRT because they have moved up into other transport options, that alleviates the strain on the system, but that also transports less bodies in your chosen mode of transportation. Less commuters on buses and trains = more comfortable ride for those remaining. 

I think that there is a healthy group of people who would be willing to pay more for a transport option more premium than public transport, but are way too far off from wanting to own, operate and maintain a private car. I think these new ideas really will help change the way that Singaporeans choose to travel.

My personal vision for the future is self-driving TAXIS (note: not cars, which I personally would like to see have insane COE price tags on them), 24/7 public transport and safe, segregated lanes for PMD (e-scooters, bikes, etc). In my personal vision for the future, I don't own a car, but I'm more than satisfied with all the transport options available to me.

The future is so exciting, isn't it?

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