Updated: Jul 9
In the next 15 years, it is estimated that 60% of the world population will be living in cities in the process of globalisation. In Singapore, a highly developed nation where the majority of the population are already city dwellers, it is imperative that new concepts on transportation emerge to tackle issues such as traffic congestion and carbon emissions. By and large, with 5.7 million residents living in nearly 728 square kilometre, land is scarce for liveability, let alone for transportation.
However, demand for transportation services is due to grow rapidly in line with the increase of population and city development as well as traffic congestion. To overcome this issue, Singapore is the pioneer city in the world to implement the concept of Electronic Road Pricing System (ERP) in which toll charges are levied on vehicles according to time and congestion levels on the major highways. This has successfully reduced traffic congestion whereby people avoid the rush hour or use public transport as an alternative. This was a successful concept for then and now, but the question we must ask is what happens when the population continues to grow, especially for a globalised country like Singapore with foreign expatriates, investors and tourists? Can the existing system cope or do we need a new transit system that can better deploy resources and truly offers seamless mobility solutions for all riders in Singapore?
The solution we would like to offer is known as RushOwl - Singapore’s first smart mobility ecosystem. Not only does it involve a dynamic and on-demand buspool service that brings multiple riders together at any one time, it also strives to create a more efficient way of both using the vehicle and the road. And if you’re wondering if the service is built on a digital network, the answer is a sound yes! RushOwl is already available for download from the App Store and Google Play, waving impossible prices and stealing our riders’ interest.
In this blog, we look at how RushOwl’s initiation into the world of carpooling became the next “big thing” as Singapore embraces the idea of Microtransit. And how can Microtransit offer the best solutions for the future of mobility, unmatched by the existing mass transit, or any public transportation for that matter. Here are the reasons that support our opinion as we sit and think.
Provide a great customer experience
You either like the idea of Microtransit or you don’t, but there is no doubt that today's riders are accustomed to personalised and tailored services to transit in their communities more than ever. This is because the experience offered by these services is usually better than in traditional transit, notably thanks to their app-based reservations, guaranteeing a seated trip with a superior ride experience. Additionally, by using app-based reservations, riders’ waiting times are cut short so there’s no more waiting around on a street in hopes of squeezing into a crowded bus. Sounds good enough.. But that’s not all. Compared to traditional transit, Microtransit can improve the travel patterns for riders by automatically computing the routes according to demand. This could mean less number of stops and faster travel for passengers who choose Microtransit over mass transit.
Ensure social equity
The Microtransit vehicles are well-designed to offer flexible routing and/or flexible scheduling. In so doing, it can extend the routes covered by traditional transit and help to serve Singapore’s population of 5.7 million, especially at mid or low-density areas and at off-peak hours with dispersed ridership. It is also affordable, as it aims to offer a highly competitive and a more affordable price compared to taxis and other e-hailing vehicles in Singapore.
Already, there is a deep concern for the people outside of the transit hub thus Microtransit will come as a pleasant mobility option with a goal for these people, ensuring social equity is achieved in the long term. It enables passengers to access jobs, resources and other amenities and at the same time, it effectively meets the mobility needs of those who need to commute at irregular hours, such as late at night. When these conditions are met, Microtransit can help ensure social equity by providing a transportation option for the ‘entire community’ and not just the partial community.
It won’t be wrong to say that ride-hailing services and taxis have had huge importance to their passengers in Singapore because they’re all over the island state. However, the appreciation for these services have decreased by many folds because of the concern that there are too many of them running around with no passengers, causing irreversible carbon emissions.
For this reason, the rise of Microtransit is the quintessential service to overcome these issues through the use of a new technology solution. For instance, Microtransit vehicles are only dispersed when there’s a demand for them, and they typically use multi-passenger or pooled buses to further optimise the use of the city's scarce space and reduce traffic congestion. The results of these? Congestion disappears because of the sharing of vehicles, carbon emissions drop thanks to lower miles travelled, and public space is freed due to an overall improved transportation efficiency.
And to be honest, that’s really all the work we at RushOwl do - sending passengers to their offices on time, keeping prices for passengers low, providing superior ride experience and ensuring social equity over all. With RushOwl, it can be a lifetime of scheduled fuss-free commutes and wiser wheels on the road.