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So many taxi apps, which to use? Check out TNP's review

Another taxi booking app Hailo debuted two weeks ago. Do we really need so many apps in the market?

Fear not: Two TNP reporters did the legwork to test them out. See which delivers on its promise best.

We list the experiences (in no order of preference).

1) Hailo

The newest player in town launched at the end of Oct 2014.

It allows you to pay for your ride with a credit card if you register details with the app. No cash needed.

Like GrabTaxi, the app requires you to key in your destination before making a booking. Standard booking fees apply.

Usability: Quite easy to use

When launched, it immediately shows your location.

If, for some reason, it fails to detect your location automatically, the info can be changed with a text box. 

Ease of getting a taxi: Mixed

Unfortunately, we found the going tough. 

We're not sure if this is due to it being the newest player in Singapore: We had to try several times before snagging a taxi.

Other times, we simply gave up after trying for seven minutes. 

2) Easy Taxi

When it first debuted, booking fees were waived. But it has since started charging such fees.

Comes with the claim that $2 for non-peak hours and $3 for peak hour rates are the "cheapest in town."

Usability: Smooth

The app picks up your location.

Unfortunately, you then have to key in your location again (in another screen).


Like Hailo, you need to key in your destination before you can book a cab - but it's far easier to use than Hailo's​.

You can also choose to pay via credit card once you store details in the app.

Ease of getting a taxi: Easy but...

While easy to use, the location detection can be quite erratic - we had to manually key in our location each time.

3) uberTaxi

The app initially entered Singapore as a limo booking service. 

Usability: Wow!

It was a joy to use: The interface was easy to navigate.

You can even see real-time if there are available taxis (or limos) in your area. No need to set your destination before booking can proceed.

Ease of getting a taxi: Good

We did not have to wait more than 3 mins to get a cab.
 

4) Grab Taxi

Usability: Ugh!

Arguably one of the more popular third-party taxi apps in Singapore right now.

This has been my go-to app - especially when trying to land a cab in the deadly peak-hour zone. So for this experiment, I decided to grab a taxi (ahem) at about 6pm from the Toa Payoh North office to my home in the west.

Here were a couple of issues that cropped up:

1) Input of location

Too many choices when I clicked the location field (See below).

Granted I knew the exact office address and postal code, so I was comfortable clicking on "Aerobics Studio @ SPH".

But what if I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no knowledge of the postal code and landmarks around? Frustrating when the app doesn't seem to be able to pin point exactly where my destination is.

2) Nets option needed

Grab Taxi includes companies that may not accept Nets, unlike Comfort. An option at the first stage of the booking process to indicate Nets payment would be convenient. 

Ease of getting a taxi: Okay

Well, it was peak-hour so I was prepared for a wait. Thankfully, after five booking rejections, I had success! The good news: It only took about 2.5 minutes.

The app told me the cabby was about 2 mins away but I waited for about 5 minutes. (Yes, this is me nitpicking)

5) Comfort Delgro

Usability: Not user-friendly at all

This is why:

1) Input of location

Unlike Grab Taxi (which gives you multiple ways to choose your location such as through Foursquare and Google), Comfort needs you to either type in your address manually or choose from the suggested pick-up location (usually wrong).

When using the app at about 7.20 am to go to the Toa Payoh office, here's what I got.

The suggested pick-up address was the school near my home.

While one could argue that it's near enough for me to accept that location, why would I want the cab to enter the school and cause confusion? 

Ease of getting a taxi: Unexpectedly quick

To my surprise, I got a cab pretty much immediately at 7.20am at Bukit Panjang, a spot I affectionately refer to as a black hole for taxis. 

Best app?

While Grab Taxi was the best third-party taxi app due to its large taxi pool, the ease of using Uber is rather addictive. So we hope they grow their fleet of taxis. 

Conclusion:

Despite the presence of many taxi apps in the market, we wouldn't want a centralised app. Why?

  • We like having other options to rely on when one app fails.
  • Given the competitive market, consumers stand to gain as apps offer discounts and other perks to entice business. For example, Uber recently introduced a tie-up with Spotify that allows you to play your playlists during your ride. 
ubertaxiComfortDelgro