New app to offer savings when commuters subscribe to plans covering both private and public transport

(From left) Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Tsusho Asia-Pacific Shigeharu Kato, mobilityX Board of Directors Chairman Peter Tan, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education Chee Hong Tat, Chief Executive Officer of mobilityX Colin Lim, Chairman of SMRT Seah Moon Ming, mobilityX Advisory Panel Chairman and Member of Parliament Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Savings of up to 20 per cent a month are in the offing for commuters when an app, with major transport players behind it, introduces subscription plans in six months' time.

The Zipster app will probably have three to five plans with varying amounts of savings for trips on both public transport and private-hire cars and even shared electric cars, said its developer, start-up mobiltyX, on Monday (Sept 16).

The start-up is backed by transport operator SMRT and Toyota Tsusho, the general trading arm of carmaker Toyota.

Billed as a first of its kind in Asia, Zipster brings on one platform all public transport operators in Singapore as well as major companies such as Grab, Gojek and BlueSG, an electric car-sharing operator.

Other partners include bike-sharing firm Anywheel and bus-pooling service provider ShareTransport.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who officially launched it on Monday, said that besides savings, the app would give commuters greater convenience.

Elaborating later, mobilityX's chief executive officer Colin Lim said the platform will let commuters compare multiple travelling options and book private transport services on a single platform.

Mr Chee noted that apps like Zipster is poised to be the next disruptor in the land transport sector, he added, reiterating a point made last month by Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary.

"By integrating mobility services such as public transport, taxis, and car and bicycle sharing, MaaS offers commuters a more streamlined and personalised experience," said Mr Chee, referring to the concept Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

"There are also benefits to society as a whole, as such services can further improve the overall efficiency of our transport system."

The trial version of the app has been available for download since April this year.

It has hitherto been downloaded by 16,000 users and used about 150,000 times.

The current Zipster has fewer functions.

It offers a route planning function similar to that of apps like Google Maps and suggests various transport options and timings for completing a trip.

In addition, it shows the prices of say, taking a trip by bus, MRT or private-hire cars.

For private-hire trips on Grab or Gojek, Zipster will direct the commuter to their respective app.

Commuters can also buy discount vouchers through Zipster's consolidated marketplace.

When the enhanced app is launched in six months' time, mobilityX's Mr Lim said commuters can expect three to five subscription plans initially.

The plans could cost between $50 and $100, with savings ranging from five to 20 per cent.

He also said mobilityX is working with payments giant Mastercard and local firm MatchMove to develop a pilot payment card for its subscription plans.

Mr Lim has plans to expand Zipster in the Asia Pacific region and said a growing demand for alternatives to a car would boost business.

"We are still in the early stages of the revolution. I think in the next five to 10 years, how people consume transport will change dramatically," he added.

At Zipster's launch, Mr Chee said Enterprise Singapore is working with mobilityX to take the app overseas. He urged other businesses to also expand beyond Singapore to seek opportunities.

"There are risks involved when we go overseas, but there are also significant rewards if we succeed," he said.

"(The Government) is prepared to share some of these risks with our fellow Singaporeans and our businesses."

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