New Service, Same Problem. Uber Fails The Singapore Rain Test.
It's 6:16pm on a Tuesday night. I'm meant to be headed to an event by Frog Design and VISA tonight at The Arts House in Old Parliament Lane. But we have a problem.
Wind the clock back to 2012, and ask anyone living in Singapore what ones of their biggest pain points about living in Singapore, and they'll tell you. 'The place shuts down in the rain... it's impossible to do anything.' The hardest hit, the rain cripples public transport in the country as bus start to run late, traffic jams up, and most significantly taxis are nowhere to be seen. It's like they vanish.
So when Uber, the "private limo for everyone" launched in Singapore, I was overjoyed. Having experienced them in New York, I love the service. Hail a private car via your mobile phone. Brilliant. Could this fix Singapore's taxis pain?
Since it's started, I've chosen Uber as my way to get around. Always reliable, reasonably priced, and great service. But today Uber faced its ultimate challenge, a Singaporean down pour during peak hours. Hoping Uber would come to the rescue, race me across town to my event, I started calling for a car at 5:35pm. At first I was shocked, a 35 minute wait time and twice the price for peak surge. Even at that I was prepared to give it a go. Comfort's taxi app was definitely out of the question as dozens of booking failures consistently haunt the app during rain.
It's now 6:24pm, I've attempted Uber 17 times... every time accepting the 2.0 and 2.5 times price during the surge... but never have I got a car. Uber the silver lining in public transport has failed Singapore's ultimate test. Putting its service into the 'reliable' category that haunts Comfort's Taxi App.
Sorry VISA & Frog Design... looks like I'll be missing your event. Because the venue is nowhere near an MRT Station.