UberX goes cheaper than taxis this month
AS MOBILE apps compete to offer ride-matching services, one private-car hire company is slashing its rates for a limited period - to be cheaper than hailing a taxi.
UberX, which was launched here earlier this year, has cut its price from 70 cents per kilometre to 30 cents, and its per minute charge from 40 cents to 16 cents. The base fare and minimum fare remain unchanged, at $3.50 and $8, respectively.
UberX said that during the promotion period - which kicked off on Wednesday and will run through the month - its fares will be up to 20 per cent cheaper than flagging down a taxi.
"A ride from Jurong East MRT station to Changi Airport Terminal 3 (in the late morning), for example, will cost $21 on UberX, compared with $26 in a taxi," the firm said in a blog post.
UberX is run by the United States-based Uber Technologies, which also has a premium car hire service here called Uber. While Uber cars are luxury models, UberX uses mid-range cars like Mitsubishi Lancers and Toyota Corollas.
Other apps that offer ride-matching services include GrabTaxi, Easy Taxi and MoobiTaxi. Last Tuesday, GrabTaxi launched in Singapore a luxury car option called GrabCar.
These apps typically use location-based technology to link up passengers to either taxis or private cars, depending on the app.
While UberX's latest promotion makes a direct comparison with taxi fares, Uber regional manager Mike Brown said the company is not competing with cabs.
Mr Brown noted that taxi fare pricing is a "common language" that everyone understands.
"We are not a taxi, we don't do street hails. To be clear, we work with limousine companies which have commercially registered vehicles and commercial insurance," he added.
However, not every ride will be priced at the promotional rates all the time. Under the Uber booking system, fares will be marked up during periods of high demand, to get more drivers on the roads.
Uber users can get a fare quote before making a booking, and will be notified during periods of high demand.
University undergraduate Tang Jia Wei, 21, who has taken over 10 trips with UberX, said the service is relatively new and less well-known, so it is easier to get a booking compared to that for taxis, especially in the evenings.
"The downside: You can't flag them down and you have to wait an average of about five to 10 minutes," Mr Tang said.