Mobile apps which help passengers locate the taxis nearest to them have helped to better match demand and supply, dispensing with the need to make taxis cruise around so that customers can flag them down on the streets.
The growth in the population of private-hire cars, operating under the Uber and Grab apps, has also created alternative taxi services for commuters. A Straits Times report in September put their combined fleet at around 25,000. They add to the more than 27,500 taxis here managed by six taxi companies.
The impact of ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab also extended beyond the disruption of the taxi business. Their growth has caused the rental car population to soar to 49,785 as of last month - a whopping 44 percent increase from the 27,988 cars in the same period last year. Rental firms are boosting their fleets to meet the demand from a growing pool of Uber and Grab drivers.
Some of these drivers seek to be full-time chauffeurs, but others rent the cars to drive for Uber and Grab part-time while enjoying the perks of having their own set of wheels. The likes of Uber-run Lion City Rentals have driven up the demand for Certificates of Entitlement (COEs), keeping premiums for cars high. Though car buyers had hoped for COE premiums to be slashed due to a bumper crop of COEs this year, the rental firms have moderated the drop.
The following article is written by Adrian Lim, a correspondent with The Straits Times.