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Uber, Grab score higher with commuters than taxis

SINGAPORE — Private hire car services such as Grab and Uber are better than regular taxis, whether it is in convenience, safety or comfort, commuters polled by the Public Transport Council (PTC) in an annual survey say.

Uber, Grab score higher with commuters than taxis

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SINGAPORE — Private hire car services such as Grab and Uber are better than regular taxis, whether it is in convenience, safety or comfort, commuters polled by the Public Transport Council (PTC) in an annual survey say.

The survey, involving more than 1,500 commuters, also revealed that commuters took as many cab rides as ride-hailing services in a given week. This trend, however, was not at the expense of taxi ridership — as some cabbies have complained since ride-hailing services took off here about four years ago.

Rather, the PTC said, “the majority of the private hire car trips are likely to be catering to new or unmet demand”. The council explained its findings by explaining how taxi ridership has fallen only marginally over the past few years — from 967,000 daily rides, on average, in 2013, to 954,000, last year.

Across seven indicators — whether it was waiting time and ease of booking, or the safety and comfort levels of rides — private hire car services were rated more favourably by respondents in the PTC survey carried out at 30 locations over two weeks in August last year.

Across the seven indicators, the biggest gap in satisfaction levels between the two services was in the area of ease of booking, with private hire car services scoring 96.4 per cent, 10 percentage points higher than taxis did.

Waiting time was the next biggest difference (a 6.6-percentage-point gap) observed by commuters, followed by the comfort of the ride and service rendered by the driver (both with 5.9-percentage-point gaps).

Taxi stand accessibility was not considered for private hire car services because these drivers are not allowed to pick up fares in these locations — and neither were street hails.

On the whole, 97.3 per cent of the respondents were satisfied with private hire car services, compared with 94.4 per cent for taxis.

As for mean scores, private hire car services registered 7.9, versus 7.5 for taxis. Scores were calculated by weighting it to how important the eight service attributes were rated by commuters.

In general, commuters were most concerned with drivers’ knowledge of routes, safety and waiting time. Taxi rides scored the highest satisfaction levels in these same areas. 

For private hire car services, they rated ease of booking higher than for waiting time.

In total, 1,004 respondents in the survey were interviewed after a taxi ride, with the remaining 522 after alighting from a private hire car. The survey was carried out during both peak and off-peak periods.

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