There’s been a lot of talk about Grab acquiring Uber’s Southeast Asia’s operations. Sources have said that the supposed agreement is for Uber to let go of operations in certain markets in the region in exchange for a share in Grab. It’s really all hearsay for now, but it seems Uber is determined to stay in Singapore, after announcing today (Mar 14) a new service that will allow commuters get to work and back.
A first in the region, Uber Commute is the ride-hailing app’s answer to GrabHitch and will be launching tomorrow (Mar 15). It’s designed to be a “casual carpooling option” that’s in line with making Singapore a little more car-lite.
However, these rides are strictly restricted to five days a week between 5am-10pm for now. A representative from Uber said that the next update will likely expand the availability to five and a half days, seeing how some commuters work on Saturdays. The eventual plan for the service is to have it available at all times to cater to all walks of life.
Unlike UberPool, UberX and UberFlash, you can’t get a ride on demand. You can, however, schedule a maximum of two rides per day between a week to an hour in advance via the current Uber app itself, by accessing the “Commute” option through the menu icon on the top left. Just input your “Home” and “Work” address, choose your preferred timing and date of pick-up and wait for a match.
There are a couple of upsides, of course—there is no dynamic pricing (you’ll be notified of the fee before booking a ride), the drivers will bear the cost of ERP charges (although drivers are encouraged to discuss before the start of the trip), you’ll be the only one on the ride (no multiple passengers are allowed), and it’s expected to be 51% cheaper than uberX, making it a much more affordable option to get to work (the pricing structure adheres to current regulations under the Road Traffic Act, which states that the fares for carpooling should only be limited to covering the costs and expenses incurred).
Also, from Mar 15-30, you’ll enjoy 30% off all Uber Commute rides, so why not?