A new app in Singapore aims to change the whole taxi experience in Singapore. GoMyWay, an iPhone app that allows you to share taxis with other people, has officially launched and is now available for download from the Apple App Store. While the idea of taxi sharing is not a new one, the potential of the market is enormous. According to the GoMyWay team, there are more than 26,000 taxis in Singapore, making an average of 900,000 trips per day.
Factors supporting the launch of the app
In Singapore, because of the fear of traffic congestion problem, the Land Transport Authority is capping the taxi growth at 2 percent per year, but the population of Singapore is growing at a far higher rate. This promotes the need for more car pooling and taxi sharing in Singapore to meet the rising demand for more taxis. Another interesting fact that was shared by the GoMyWay team was that, most taxis in Singapore are actually underutilized, with an average of 1.1 passengers per trip. With the high smartphone penetration in Singapore, it makes sense for GoMyWay to come in and capitalize on this opportunity.
Security a huge concern
Of course, one of the major concern for most of the app users revolves around the security issue. Female passengers might not be comfortable sharing a taxi with a total stranger. To solve this problem, GoMyWay allows one to select his or her taxi sharing buddy. When you list where you are going, you can choose to only share the taxi ride with your preferred gender. On top of that, every profile is completely anonymous until both parties decide to share the taxi together. There will also be an built in chat system for you to chat with your taxi partner. All GoMyWay users also need to register and verify their mobile number, so the identity of all users is easily traceable.
Do I have to pay for the app?
GoMyWay is a free app. When you sign up for the app, you are given 20 taxi tokens. The taxi tokens will be deducted once every successful taxi sharing. Once you finish using them, you can then purchase more tokens through the in app purchase feature. The additional tokens will cost you US$0.19 to US$0.30 depending on the package you buy. To avoid complicated fare split arrangements, GoMyWay also provides users with the following simple guideline – the first alighting passenger pays 60 percent of the fare due at the point of alighting (including all surcharges) to the second passenger. The rationale for the 60 percent split is that it’s likely the second passenger had to make a detour to drop off the first passenger, and also a fixed starting fare means the first kilometre of the taxi trip is significantly more expensive than subsequent kilometres.
As the team does not have a technical cofounder, most of the technical works are outsourced to BuUuk. Moving forward after the launch of its iPhone app, the team is working on pushing out an Android app in the coming few months.The team is also exploring possible expansion to other countries like Malaysia and Australia. Several app feature enhancements that may come out from its future iteration includes smart banner ads as well as partnerships with food and beverages outlets, merchants, as well as the government agencies.
Possible challenges ahead
Although the idea of taxi sharing would seem appealing at first glance, I had a couple of concerns:
1) Critical mass. To help taxi riders find the right match, GoMyWay will have to achieve a critical mass. The GoMyWay team has a couple of marketing campaigns lined up to attract more users to use the app. The concern is that early adopters may find themselves logging in to an empty app and leave. An upcoming competitor app, Split-It, plays on a different strategy by only deciding to launch their app once they have hit 10,000 sign ups.
2) Consumer behaviour. The GoMyWay has addressed the adoption of their app from the perspective of rising demand for taxis, underutilization of taxis and high smartphone penetration. The bigger question would be the consumer’s acceptance to the idea of sharing taxis with complete strangers, something that comes more from a cultural approach rather than just on the opportunity to save cost. Sharing taxis when the opportunity presents itself is one, but actively looking for a taxi partner could be something that has higher barriers of acceptance.
It will be interesting to see what strategies the GoMyWay team has to tackle these challenges and help Singaporeans reduce their transportation costs.
Read on for the full press release.
SINGAPORE, 22 AUGUST 2012 – Commuting via taxi in Singapore may not be seen as the easiest of tasks. Taxi riders face several challenges when embarking on a taxi journey. From the rising cost in fares, ERP and surcharges to the long queues at taxi stands and lengthy taxi booking waiting times, the woes of taking a taxi can seem endless and frustrating.
Cue GoMyWay, Singapore’s first dedicated taxi sharing app available for iOS, and downloadable at the iTunes App Store today. Founded by four friends turned business partners, the first dedicated taxi sharing app offers riders a secure and practical way to not only save money and time, but also an opportunity to meet new people.
“We know how frustrating it can be to commute in Singapore – car ownership is expensive, buses and trains are congested during peak hour, and taxis are pricey and hard to come by – we feel that people are stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Ken Ng, Co-Founder of GoMyWay. “We believe GoMyWay gives Singaporeans a viable commuting alternative, which would make catching or booking a taxi more affordable as well as shorten taxi queues and reduce waiting times. Moreover, we believe sharing a taxi could be a unique way to meet people as well – if you’re leaving from and heading to the same areas, chances are you will have a lot in common.”
GoMyWay represents a significant move in supporting Singapore’s vision of relieving congestion and providing an efficient means for cost-effective land transport in addressing different travellers’ needs. Users can connect with nearby users in their vicinity throughout Singapore at any time. To start their journey, they simply need to key in their destination, which is then matched to others in the vicinity and ranked by how close their respective destinations are to the user’s destination. Spending time together in a taxi may also be a great way to make a new friend.
“GoMyWay isn’t just about sharing a taxi, but meeting new people as well. We hope that by using GoMyWay, travellers can potentially make friends they otherwise would never have met. It would not only be fun for the user to forge new relationships on a regular basis, but also enhances their overall taxi commuting experience,” commented Leslie Ng, Co-Founder of GoMyWay.
The app, which will be also released at a later date on the Android platform, features current and future trip postings, fare split guidance, integration with Facebook and Twitter, filter by gender (so for example, it’s easier for females to find other females to share with), mobile number SMS verification, GPS location mapping, in-app chat functionality and a thumbs up/down user rating system.
GoMyWay was founded by Ken Ng, Leslie Ng, Adrian Wong and Wee Hong Shee, four friends looking to leverage technology to achieve greater efficiency in Singapore’s transit infrastructure. GoMyWay is a location-based app that allows users to share taxis. There are many benefits in using GoMyWay, including sharing the fare of the a taxi trip to leave more money in your pocket, potentially reducing waiting times by reducing taxi queues and sharing taxi booking fees, achieving greater efficiency to contribute positively to the environment and reduce congestion, and interacting socially with interesting people. The GoMyWay App is available now for free download at the iPhone App Store and coming soon to the Android Market.