Carpooling as a concept has been in existence in Singapore for quite a number of years.
Before the dawn of the smartphone, people in search of carpool buddies would normally flock to the many local online forums available.
With the popularity of Apple and Android platforms bringing on the app revolution, this also brought carpooling onto the app bandwagon almost overnight.
Now, the market is currently dominated by the big boys like Grab and Uber with their pooling options GrabHitch and uberPOOL; but more recently another new pooling phenomenon has been quickly gaining steam.
Bus-Pooling Makes A Beeline To The Mainstream
We’re talking about Bus-pooling.
To be frank, it is not a new idea and has been around for the longest time. Think about that school-bus you used to ride as a kid to go to primary school – that’s bus-pooling right there.
By working with private transport operators, bus-pooling apps rely on both the inclusion of popular, often-used routes, as well as user submitted, ‘crowdsourced’ suggestions for routes that people might be interested in.
Now, There’s ShareTransport
You may have used ShareTransport before for their bus-pooling, carpooling, or taxi-pooling services on their website. Now, they are proud to announce that they have launched an entire app just for bus-pooling.
Where Beeline was an initiative to test the platform of such a service by the government, ShareTransport is fully backed by the private sector of transport operators, coming forward with their own initiatives to offer commuters added convenience, speed and more choices for their daily commute.
Currently offering 97 bus routes plying the entire country, the key focus of the service is getting commuters from their homes in the heartlands to the Central Business Districts and industrial business parks, offering regular weekday schedules and guaranteed air-conditioned bus seats.
After signing up an account, you will be able to key in your home postal code to designate your start and end points.
After that, you can then choose from their list of routes available.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either my home or even my office in the list. To be fair, both are in central Singapore, and after browsing through the routes available, it is clear that they are aiming the service to people who live at extreme sides of the country who go to work at a considerable further location.
Once you have picked your route, choose your desired location for both pickup and drop-off. Typically, these are bus stops that are along the entire route of the entire journey.
If you have already paid for, and subscribed to a route, you are now able to track the buses real-time. While you may have a designated pickup timing, the bus is still burdened by unforeseen traffic conditions that may delay its arrival.
This doesn’t give you an excuse to be late though.
If you don’t see any particular route that can efficiently get you to work and back home, you can always send a suggestion.
The whole idea of a crowdsourced bus-pooling service is basically supply and demand. If you suggest a route, and enough people vote for it, you will surely see it becoming a reality.
ShareTransport is always updating their bus routes with additional journeys added on to the service. The latest one, a service taking commuters from Punggol to International Business Park, was announced just last week, with the service expected to start on 1st August.
What’s Good, What’s Bad
This service will definitely be a godsend for people living and/or working in ‘ulu’ areas.
While you may have to go a little out of your way to a bus stop that is along your desired route should they not cover your estate, it’s not that big of an inconvenience as compared to getting stuck in an overpacked MRT.
Then again, because the routes are crowdsourced, you can always send a suggestion and hope people take it up.
The only downside I see is that it is purely a monthly subscription service. If you prefer flexibility with your bus service, Beeline is a better bet, but for the rest of you who see yourselves going to the office and back home at fixed timings, this is for you.
Since the government pushing for a more car-lite Singapore, along with the rising costs of owning a car, ShareTransport wants to position itself to be an alternative transport medium to fill that void. And with the ever increasing popularity of carpooling with GrabHitch and uberPOOL, the time is ripe for bus-pooling to take the stage, as commuters are now more than ever open to other modes of transportation methods other than the traditional bus, taxi and MRT.
Featured Image Credit: publictransportsg