In the battle between private hire firms like Uber and Grab and traditional taxi companies, the latter losing the bulk of their customers to lower fares and promo codes is nothing new.
Taxi companies have been needing to play the catchup game, partnering with said disruptors to give drivers another outlet to get passengers, and also dishing out the occasional promo code.
However, ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi company in Singapore, is now taking on its competitors by attempting to lure bus and MRT commuters to use its cabs with their enhanced CabRewards system.
Called CabRewards+, the initiative will allow CDG taxi users to earn double the Cabpoints within 24 hours of their last SBS Transit bus or NEL/DTL/LRT ride.
To further encourage commuters to take up the initiative, riders can earn ten times the Cabpoints from now till 31 July.
CDG is also planning to extend the rewards to commuters using transport from other operators like SMRT, Go Ahead and Tower Transit in time to come.
Cabpoints (1 point/$1 fare) can be used to redeem perks like taxi vouchers, discounts on taxi bookings and free transfers to the airport.
According to a report on TODAY, 83 Cabpoints would get commuters 50cents off their fare, and every 1,000 Cabpoints gives them a $5 taxi voucher.
The initiative is the first of its kind to encourage ‘multi-modal’ commuting, and CDG CEO Ang Wei Neng expressed confidence that “This is a unique position that other providers will find hard to compete with.”
However, Ang is also quick to admit that their rewards are not as “extravagant” as those offered by other companies – probably in reference to the weekly promo codes that Uber and Grab dish out to existing and potential users.
“According to analysts, they are in the business of burning money, at least for now. We are in the business of providing sustainable service, benefits and rewards,” said Ang.
Singaporeans Aren’t Impressed
As expected, Singaporean netizens have revealed that in spite of the revamped initiative, disruptors like Grab and Uber are still offering better perks to encourage rides.
This sentiment is mirrored by transport expert and lecturer at Singapore University of Social Sciences Park Byung Joon. Said Park to The New Paper,”The rewards would not be attractive enough to commuters. I do not think private hire firms and the taxi industry can co-exist.”
He also thinks that the taxi firm is “in a painful situation because it does not have the financial means to compete with companies such as Uber”.
Will This Initiative Eventually Encourage Cab-Riding?
In spite of the rather underwhelming initiative, National Taxi Association executive advisor Ang Hin Kee is still optimistic that the initiative will be a “win-win” for taxi drivers and commuters.
From the looks of things on the ground, though, that optimism might eventually not pay off in the end.
Because honestly, getting a $5 promo code without even needing to spend any money still wins over any rewards system.