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.

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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.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Aysha Akbar, Uber Community Manager

    Downpour during peak hours is such a nightmare. And last night was pretty horrible 🙁

    As Scott mentions, at Uber we strive to be not only Everyone’s Private Driver, getting you where you need to go with style and convenience, but also a highly reliable ride. Our data driven approach to demand forecasting and pricing helps Uber, in over 30 cities worldwide, to provide you a reliable ride. While we’re but a few months young in Singapore, we generally come through; last night we failed 🙁 The mad storm, rain and thunder got the best of us and we were fully booked up for hours. It hurts us to watch the transportation system breaking down around us and not be able to help everyone. It’s very tough for us to give everyone a ride during weather such as last night’s but as we mature our supply will continue to increase and allow us to better manage demand.

    To Scott (and everyone who struggled to get a ride with Uber last night), our apologies. We’re sorry to leave you high and wet and hope that you will give us another shot soon. We’re working through rain and shine to increase the number of transportation partners that work with us, to lower pick-up times, and to increase our geographic coverage. Thanks for bearing with us as we grow!

    • Aysha,

      Firstly I want to extend a huge thank you for taking the to time to respond. As a fellow disruptor & innovator, I reamin a huge fan of Uber and will continue to use the service is dozens of cities across the world. Last night a was big test for everyone in the transport industry. Something that haunts transport in Singapore regularly.

      I look forward to Uber’s ongoing growth, and wish the team all the best.

      Regards, Scott

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