ComfortDelGro sees biggest taxi booking rise since 2014

Comfort and CityCab vehicles parked at the CityCab Building in Sin Ming Avenue. Last month, ComfortDelGro called a tender for the supply of 500 more taxis - just a week after it announced that it had bought 200 new cabs, its first purchase in 18 mont
Comfort and CityCab vehicles parked at the CityCab Building in Sin Ming Avenue. Last month, ComfortDelGro called a tender for the supply of 500 more taxis - just a week after it announced that it had bought 200 new cabs, its first purchase in 18 months.ST FILE PHOTO

9% rise seen as sign of cab sector turnaround since private-hire car debut five years ago

In what seems to cement a turnaround for the taxi industry since the emergence of private-hire cars five years ago, cab operator ComfortDelGro is reporting a rise in taxi bookings.

In a statement yesterday, the taxi giant said its taxi bookings rose by nearly 9 per cent last month.

This was the the biggest year-on-year jump since a 9.1 per cent growth in September 2014, it said. The company did not want to disclose the absolute figure "for competitive reasons".

The turnaround in bookings has come on the back of Uber's exit from the South-east Asia region as well as Grab's pulling back of rider promotions and driver incentives.

The two ride-hailing firms had been a hit on the taxi industry since they arrived in 2013.

ComfortDelGro said its own efforts to meet the competition, including the rolling out of marketing promotions for passengers in recent months, had also helped.

Promo codes, which offered passengers $3 off their flat fares when they book via the ComfortDelGro App during off-peak hours, were the most popular, it added.

An $8 discount promotion, which was usable on rides from the city and taken between 1am and 5am, was equally well-received. In all, about 57,000 promo codes were redeemed in April and May.

ComfortDelGro Taxi chief executive Ang Wei Neng said: "We have been rolling out very targeted booking promotions and this, we believe, has helped to boost demand.

"At the same time, we are also giving our cabbies weekly incentives to reward them for actively taking booking jobs so that passengers can get their taxis even faster."

The taxi operator said bookings had grown in the first five months of 2018. The cumulative figure for the January-May period was a two-year high of 12.1 million - 0.8 per cent up from the 12 million booked over the same period last year.

Last month, ComfortDelGro called a tender for the supply of 500 more taxis - just a week after it announced that it had bought 200 new cabs, its first purchase in 18 months.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'ComfortDelGro sees biggest taxi booking rise since 2014'. Print Edition | Subscribe