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Digital Life, The Straits Times
Friday, May 2, 2014

News, Science And Tech

Hail the new taxi apps

Three cabbies who use the Easy Taxi app, another player in the taxi booking market.

MoobiTaxi

MoobiTaxi was launched last year by Maven Lab, a website and mobile development company that was awarded $10 million by the Infocomm Development Authority's (IDA) Digital Concierge initiative.

The IDA initiative is intended to improve the tourism, retail and hospitality sector by funding the development of innovative and useful mobile services.

MoobiTaxi claims a user base of more than 10,000 passengers and 2,000 drivers from ComfortDelGro and SMRT Taxis, and said it is in talks with other taxi operators.

How it works

A check-in feature on the passenger's version of the app auto-detects his location.

This, in turn, displays his location on the taxi driver's version of the app.

The check-in option requires no booking fee but does not guarantee a taxi, as drivers are free to ignore the check-in.

The app also has a booking feature, sending all bookings through the app to the smartphones of nearby drivers. Drivers without a smartphone can see the booking on their vehicle's data terminal, as all bookings are also sent to the taxi operators' dispatch systems.

Bookings made this way are more likely to get a response and the taxi's regular booking charges will apply.

Maven Lab is looking to add a limousine-booking feature to MoobiTaxi by the end of the year.

In partnership with food rating and restaurant reservation service HungryGoWhere, it allows passengers to see information about notable food places nearby and make reservations for restaurants.

Prices

The app's check-in feature is free for drivers and passengers.

Passengers who book a taxi through the app will be charged the regular taxi-booking fee from ComfortDelGro and SMRT Taxis ($3.30 during peak hours, $2.30 during non-peak hours).

All other surcharges and ERP fees apply.

Incentives for drivers

The check-in system lets drivers see where nearby passengers are in real time.

Taxi drivers download a different MoobiTaxi app, which has a taxi stand display feature that highlights taxi stands around Singapore.

However, there is no guarantee that there will be customers at the taxi stands.

User experience

We used the check-in feature on several occasions at Braddell MRT station close to 7pm and at Clementi Avenue 1 around 8am, but no driver responded, even after several tries.

Though the check-in method did not work, booking a taxi was quick, with taxis responding quickly, often under 5min. A standard booking fee was charged.

The app shared our mobile numbers with the drivers, allowing them to contact us.

Some drivers we spoke to said they had not heard of the app and received the booking via their taxi's mobile data terminal instead.

Payment is in cash, or Nets if the taxi has a Nets machine.

How to use the app

MoobiTaxi for passengers is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

A driver version of the app is available only on Android and iOS.

Registration is simple. A passenger creates an account with his name, mobile number and password.

A driver must register with his name, Taxi Driver Vocational Licence number, taxi company name and taxi number.

Taxi apps: Uber

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