Despite all the angst, rantings and complains on social media by riders, I feel that many of us have forgotten what it was like less than 3 to 5 years ago. Although private hire cars such as Uber is the new normal in Singapore now, in the not too distant past, things was not that rosy for passengers.
Waiting & Calling Frustration
Most of you would remember how difficult to get a taxi in the morning and evening peak periods last time. You would be standing on the streets and jostling with other people for “prime” spots to get a taxi. If you decide to make a phone booking, you would be lucky if your call was connected and you were not put on hold. (COMFORT did improve their system by having a a booking app. However, I had to try booking many times as there were no drivers available).
It the late afternoon, often we had to haggle with taxi drivers because most of them are changing shift. In the bewitching hours between 11 pm to 12 midnight, count yourself lucky if you can get a cab on the road. Most taxi drivers are either waiting for call bookings or waiting for the midnight charge to start.
At Your Doorstep
Now, you can literally get a ride within minutes at your doorstep. The average arrival time is about 5 minutes. Maximum 10 minutes tops. Your booking is done through the app and completed in less than 1 minute.
With the ongoing various options, competition and increased supply in the market, this has resulted in lower fares generally. What you were paying $20 back then, would cost you about $15 now. For those taking rides from the airport or after midnight, you save on the airport and midnight surcharges. Double joy for those who book an Uber at the airport after midnight!
Still there are passengers who complain about the high fares during surge pricing. Remember, out of 10 rides that you made, you would have probably saved quite a bit for 7 rides as compared to taking normal taxis. You would have probably enjoyed perks such as promo codes. So stop whining if you have to pay a bit more for the 3 rides!
Unlike its competitor, Uber does not charge an additional fee for multiple stops. You are only charged for the additional distance travelled for the stops. You don’t have to argue with the driver whether the additional stop is along the way, within 5km or more than 5km from your drop-off point. (Do note that Uber drivers are not obliged to agree to multiple stops. It helps if you ask nicely and let them know early.)
Every Booking Is A Surprise To Drivers
When a booking comes in, an Uber driver cannot see the destination of the booking. The driver can only see the name, ratings and pick-up location. We do not know the fare and the drop-off location. The driver will only know the drop-off destination once the trip is started. This system benefits the passengers as drivers cannot cherry pick passengers. For Uber’s competitor, the drivers can see the fare and the drop-off location. Do you think they are more likely to reject bookings that are for short distance or to remote areas?
Uber Started The Evolution
With Uber’s brand recognition and presence overseas, this has helped the authorities and the public to accept the concept of private hire car community in Singapore. With such a big brand making headlines abroad, Singapore as a modern city, cannot be seem to be afraid of the new tech economy. This caused seismic change in the whole transportation landscape where you as consumers benefit.
So before you rant any further on Facebook, Stomp, ASS about your Uber ride, please imagine if Uber did not exist.
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