How Taxi Companies Are Adapting To The Ride-Share Revolution
Taxis are one of the most common modes of transportation around the world. Unlike buses and trains, taxis are more flexible with their routes. They promise to bring you wherever you need to go as quickly as possible.
Millions of people around the world rely on taxis to go to work or school, visit a famous landmark, head to a shopping mall, etc. However, their existence is being threatened by a new way to commute: ride-sharing.
As Smartphones Become Prevalent
Smartphones are becoming more and more prevalent. In the United States, about 81% of American adults own a smartphone in 2019. In South Korea, one of the most tech-savvy nations in the world, 88.5% of the population use a smartphone as of 2019.
Singapore has one of the highest rates of smartphone ownership in the world. About 90% of its five-million-strong population used a smartphone in 2020.
Smartphones do so many things at once. It is a vessel for communicating with loved ones, a doorway to the internet, and a way to conveniently shop for goods. Now, with apps such as Uber and Grab, people can use their smartphones to summon a private vehicle whenever they need to go somewhere.
While convenient, this has been a cause for concern for taxi services. In many major cities around the world, while the use of ride-sharing apps has increased, the number of passengers that choose taxis has decreased.
However, do not expect taxis to just perish. This traditional mode of transport is making dramatic changes to appeal to commuters once again.
Apps for Taxis
The ride-sharing revolution takes advantage of frequent smartphone and internet use to offer a convenient way of travelling. Commuters summon the nearest available vehicle with a few taps on a screen. It is easy, quick, and convenient. Because ride-sharing apps are available in their pockets, access to transportation is more reliable.
Taxi services are doing the same thing. SMRT, the largest multi-modal public transportation operator in Singapore, launched its own online platform for locals and tourists to schedule and call for taxis whenever they need a ride. It offers the same ease and convenience as what ride-sharing apps offer, but at a more affordable price.
South Korea is doing the same thing. Kakao Taxi, a local taxi-hailing app, was launched in 2015 and was an immediate success. After only two months in the market, it received 2 million bookings and signed up a third of all taxi drivers across the nation. Today, Kakao Taxi is the largest taxi-hailing app in South Korea.
JapanTaxi, an app launched in, as its name suggests, Japan, has 60,000 taxi driver members across all 47 prefectures.