Grab exploring use of app for street-hail cabs

Grab co-founder and group CEO Anthony Tan said it wants to "digitise the street-hailing experience".
Grab co-founder and group CEO Anthony Tan said it wants to "digitise the street-hailing experience".PHOTO: GRAB

It aims to work more closely with Govt on new initiatives

Commuters in Singapore might soon be able to pay for street-hail taxis using the Grab app.

At an event marking its fifth anniversary yesterday, Grab announced that it will roll out a service for its Jakarta market that allows commuters to flag down a vehicle by the roadside, but pay for it using their mobile app.

This will "digitise the street-hailing experience", said Grab co-founder and group chief executive Anthony Tan, adding that users will be able to track their rides, as well as benefit from fixed fares and Grab promotions.

Although the service is currently available only for its GrabBike motorcycle taxi service in Jakarta, Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said the firm hopes to introduce the service in other markets and across modes of transport.

"We are continuing to work with governments to figure out what is the optimal next step," she said.

Although current regulations prevent private-hire cars from picking up street-hail passengers here, the service could be introduced for taxis, said a Grab spokesman.

Mr Tan said Grab aims to work more closely with the Government on new initiatives in the next few years.

Separately, Uber announced yesterday that 90 per cent of its drivers have signed up for the Fastlane programme, which was introduced in March to make it easier for drivers to obtain the Private Hire Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL). The US ride-hailing firm is partnering at least five chauffeured service firms to offer employment to drivers who are permanent residents, and is hoping to partner more. "We are always looking at expanding our set of options for drivers," said Mr Leigh Wong, communications head for Uber Singapore and Malaysia.

Regulations require that permanent residents and foreign work pass holders be employed by a chauffeured services company in order to qualify for the PDVL. Singaporeans are exempt from this rule.

In response to queries, the Land Transport Authority said it has received 30,500 PDVL applications as of last Saturday. Of these, 22,000 have been given approval to register for the course, and 500 have gone through the course. The rest are still being processed, while some have been rejected.

It added that around 13,700 private-hire cars have been affixed with tamper-evident decals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Grab exploring use of app for street-hail cabs'. Print Edition | Subscribe