Dec 03, 2013

    Grab a taxi by 'tipping' with app

    FED up of not being able to get a taxi, even by calling the various booking hotlines?

    A feature launched by taxi-booking app GrabTaxi yesterday aims to give the passenger more control - by giving him the option of offering an extra sum of money, or reward, to the taxi driver he books.

    This will give drivers more incentive to pick him up, creating a "free market" for taxi bookings, "determined by the urgency of the passenger to get a taxi and the driver's availability", the start-up said in a statement.

    The passenger decides whether to give a reward and, if so, how much. GrabTaxi does not collect booking fees from passengers and its spokesman said it is still "working out" its revenue model.

    For now, it is paying taxi drivers an undisclosed sum for every passenger picked up via the app, so as to entice more cabbies to join its network.

    GrabTaxi was first launched in October as a regular taxi-booking app. Founder Anthony Tan declined to reveal the number of drivers registered with the company.

    Mr Tan told MyPaper he introduced the reward feature because he realised that "passengers are required to pay a booking fee when booking a taxi using other means, taking the decision to pay this amount out of their hands".

    "What we want is to allow a passenger to dictate when he wants to pay more for a cab...or save on his booking fee if there's a willing driver who wants to take the job."

    Public-relations manager Vernia Lim, 27, welcomed the idea of a reward system. She often has trouble getting a cab in the Central Business District, especially during peak hours and on rainy days.

    "If it will give me a better chance of getting a cab or even guarantee it...I don't think money is an issue," she said.