Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) unveiled yesterday a new Taxi-Taxi@SG mobile application, which aims to help commuters who wish to hail a taxi on the street by allowing them to see if there any available taxis nearby.
With this information, commuters can better decide whether to continue waiting for a taxi on the street, walk to a location with more available taxis, book a taxi instead, or make alternative transport arrangements, said LTA in a media statement.
Additionally, the app also enables the commuters to broadcast their current locations. This allows taxi drivers to find out where there is a high demand for taxis.
Furthermore, this free app shows the location of all available taxis from the 28,000 taxis registered in Singapore, instead of only taxis that signed up with a taxi-booking platform.
"This (mobile app launch) is part of LTA's on-going efforts to explore innovative solutions to meet various transport needs. We are translating data gathered from the six taxi companies on the locations of their 28,000 taxis into useful information to better match the demand and supply of taxi services," said Rosina Howe, LTA's Group Director for Innovation and Infocomm Technology.
"Commuters who wish to hail a taxi can get a quick sense of the number of available taxis near them, and decide whether it may be better to book a taxi instead. Meanwhile, taxi-drivers can find out where there is high demand for taxis and reduce empty cruising," she added.
Mixed responses from users
Unfortunately, the app's lack of a booking service drew criticism from some netizens, with one comparing it to "having a Playstation 4 but no games to play".
Additionally, local blogger Mr Brown started the #RenameTaxiAppByLTA hashtag on Twitter yesterday afternoon, which swiftly gained traction. By 5.37pm, it had become a local trending topic, according to Twitter trends tracker Trendsmap Singapore, with many tweeting alternative names for the app such as Right Here Waiting.
However, not all are hating the app. ZY Chong commented on LTA's Facebook page that detractors were off the mark, and even described the app as a "game changer".
"You guys are missing the point. This app gives access to location data of ALL taxis. It's a game changer feature that is not available in any third party app," he said.
Another netizen said on Twitter that the app would be good for those who do not wish to fork out more on taxi booking fees.
Responding to these criticisms, the LTA said the app is different from the other taxi applications such as Uber and GrabTaxi, which facilitate the booking of taxis. Instead, it is aimed at commuters who want to hail rather than book a cab.
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