Last month, bus-pooling apps GrabShuttle, GrabShuttle Plus and Beeline announced their closures in Singapore.
All of them will discontinue on 1 January 2020.
These services offered a more economical transport option to people who want to ride to work or school in comfort, but don’t mind sharing or walking a short distance to a pick-up point.
They could be considered the middle ground between public transport (cheaper, but you may have to take multiple buses and trains) and taxis or ride-hailing (pricier, but gets you from point-to-point quickly).
However, a possible reason for their exit is there may not have been a huge and consistent demand.
Public transport is the typical mode of transport for most Singaporeans, while others drive their own cars. People tend to opt for ride-hailing only when they’re running late or their journey is inconvenient.
All of these more popular choices leave bus-pooling with a very tiny slice of the pie.
Especially for a big company like Grab, it would make sense to cut down on services that don’t have a strong growth potential, and focus their resources in key business arms instead.
Bus-Pooling Still Exists For Those Who Need It
That said, even if demand wasn’t fantastic, it doesn’t mean bus-pooling services are totally unwanted.
For commuters who are interested, ShareTransport is still an available option.
The app was introduced in 2016, and is now “the largest bus pool platform and operator in Singapore” with 70,000 registered users.
It lets commuters book a guaranteed seat on a bus “at affordable prices”, and picks them up from their home from Monday to Friday.
Today (18 December 2019), ShareTransport announced its new partnership with local taxi firm HDT to run its existing on-demand bus routes.
HDT, which operates a fleet of electric taxis and buses in Singapore, had previously partnered with Grab in 2018 to provide buses for the GrabShuttle service.
In a press release, HDT said it has recently informed existing users that they need to onboard onto their new app platform, ShareTransport.
[…] In spite of discontinuation of existing app partner, there will be no or minimal disruption to the service in year 2020.HDT Singapore
“We would like to thank users of the on-demand shuttle bus service for their support in the past two years. Going forward […], HDT will continue to operate efficiently for their daily convenience, and we look forward to their continued support,” said HDT Managing Director James Ng.
The firm has set up a form where previous users of soon-defunct services can register their interest and let HDT know which routes they used to take.
“The bus routes will be updated and progressively be made available on the new platform partner, ShareTransport App,” HDT said.
With the new partnership, ShareTransport said it aims to bring more convenience to users travelling to various office areas like the Central Business District (CBD) and one north.
It currently runs “almost 100 bus routes plying the entire city”.
The two firms also said they want to improve their service for users, beyond just collaborating on operations and bus routes.
Featured Image Credit: ShareTransport