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Grab launches beta shuttle bus service application in collaboration with GovTech Singapore

GrabShuttle app screenshots

The ride hailing platform, Grab, has launched GrabShuttle, a beta shuttle bus service mobile application, in collaboration with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech). 

The GrabShuttle app is powered by Beeline, an open, cloud-based smart mobility platform developed by GovTech in collaboration with the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Beeline bus routes are adaptive, with new routes activated based on commuters’ demand and existing routes evolving over time, based on data analytics. New private express bus routes can be activated through Beeline, subject to a minimum threshold of route passes, and users that have committed to crowd-start a route can track the progress easily from the Beeline app.

Beeline is designed on an open API architecture, allowing private transport operators and tech startups to easily integrate with the platform and build their own “retail” applications and leverage the data analytics capabilities that Beeline provides.

Beeline app screenshots

Like Beeline, the GrabShuttle app enables commuters to book a seats and track their buses in real-time on the day of the ride. It is a 4-step process, starting with selecting a route and the pick-up and drop-off points, choosing one or more dates, reviewing the booking and making the payment.

Seats are guaranteed. Commuters can plan their trips in advance and book seats up to one month ahead and they can also book the same route across multiple days for regular commuting. At the other end, last-minute booking can be done up to five minutes before the route commences.

Initially commuters can pre-book seats on 15 selected routes (the complete list is available in the press release). More routes will be added in the coming months based on suggestions from the public and GovTech and Grab's analysis of historical and real-time commuter demand data from the beta trial.

Just like Beeline, commuters can also suggest and crowd-start new routes in the GrabShuttle app or via Grab’s website. Service on the route will start when the number of pre-orders crosses 15. This makes it worthwhile for users to spread the word among neighbours and could boost usage.

GrabShuttle users can pay using their credit cards, with fares fixed for all commuters on the same route, in the range of $3.50 to $5.00, thus providing an affordable, direct and convenient transport service.

Mr. Liu Feng Yuan, director of the Data Science Division under GovTech’s Government Digital Services commented, “Beeline is built around the idea of empowering citizens to play a part in improving their commuting experience while equipping private bus operators with data analytics tools for more efficient fleet management and operations. Designed on an open API architecture, private transport providers and tech start-ups can easily integrate their services with Beeline’s open mobility marketplace to offer more convenient transportation options for commuters. We look forward to more of such industry partnerships to improve the daily commute of people."

Lim Kell Jay, Head of Grab Singapore talked about GrabShuttle being a public transport connector that links residential estates to MRT stations, business centres and underserved locations like army camps, schools, industrial estates and highlighted the benefits of the public-private partnership, saying, “Beeline has a ready technology platform for Grab to test the GrabShuttle service allowing us to study and improve the country’s public and private transportation landscape without having to develop the beta service on our app. We commend GovTech’s openness to collaboration and co-innovation and are confident that GrabShuttle will bring the benefits of shared transportation services to more commuters.”

There have been 38,000 downloads of the Beeline app since its introduction in August 2015, along with 30,000 route suggestions received from the public. There are more than 3,800 active monthly bookings. There are currently 7 private bus operators on Beeline and 34 running routes.

If more and more individuals can be enticed to opt for such responsive and convenient shared transportation services, it would help to reduce traffic congestion and overall vehicle carbon emissions in Singapore.

Read the press release here

Visit the GrabShuttle website here

An earlier version of this article misattributed a quote from Lim Kell Jay, Head of Grab Singapore tLiu Feng Yuan, Director, Data Science Division, GovTech.

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