Uber follows Grab with child-seat option

Ride-hailing company Uber will now offer cars equipped with an IMMI Go car seat, following rival Grab's introduction of GrabFamily, a similar service for young passengers, last August.

The Uber Car Seat service will be introduced on 100 Uber cars today as part of a pilot phase. It is meant for children aged between one and 10 years. They should weigh between 10kg and 25kg, and not be taller than 1.45m. It can be requested via the firm's app - users have to select the Uber Car Seat option, and pay a $5 surcharge.

Uber's rival, Grab, has been offering since last August the GrabFamily service - GrabCars equipped with Carfoldio's mifold Grab-and- Go seats, meant for children aged between four and seven. The service costs an additional $2.

Mr Andrew Chan, head of GrabCar Singapore, said the demand for GrabFamily has "doubled" since its official launch in March this year. There are now 3,000 cars under the GrabFamily fleet.

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Under the Road Traffic Act, vehicles under private-hire car services, like Uber and Grab, are not allowed to carry passengers below 1.35m in height without a booster seat or child restraint, leading some drivers to turn away customers.

Unlike taxis, Uber and Grab cars are not exempt from the rule because private-hire car services are pre-booked, which "allows passengers to indicate if they require booster seats or child restraints at the point of booking", the Land Transport Authority said in February. Taxis are excluded from this ruling as they are considered "public-service vehicles".

The service was launched in partnership with Taxi Baby, a company that sells child vehicle-safety products.

Ms Angela Xu, 35, who works in accounting and has a two-year-old daughter, welcomed the move. "Having the car seat is safer than carrying my girl in my arms in a taxi," she said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'Uber follows Grab with child-seat option'. Print Edition | Subscribe