The next people-empowering, market-disrupting, awe-inspiring idea is here, and of course it comes in the form of an app. The Infocom Development Authority’s (IDA) newest brainchild Beeline is an experimental new bus service which aims to bring the best of the public bus service and a private taxi together (it’s cheaper than a private taxi and faster than a public bus), catering to the more distant and far-flung communities of Singapore.
Currently Singaporeans are already pretty well served in terms of Public Transport. Indeed, the MRT network is ever-expanding (Downtown line coming soon!), over 4000 busses and 300 bus-routes are in use daily, and more than 30,000 taxis roam the city 24/7 – plus its revolutionary brother Uber has recently entered the market granting commuters even more choices.
Still, we got to admit that there is room for improvement. The MRT and busses can at times be a teeny, tiny bit crowded, and paying for a taxi or uber day in day out hurts the wallet too much. What is more, making your way to the CBD every day from let’s say the backyard of Yishun or Admiralty, on a bus – mrt – bus combo is not exactly how you would like to spend your every morning and evening. So, we applaud all and every attempt to make our lives a little easier here. Beeline seems to have potential so let’s put it on the the metaphorical magnifying glass and see if we have the next Uber on our books here 🙂
So what is the idea behind all this?
Beeline is part of a larger effort by the IDA to create a more efficient and especially smarter public transport system in Singapore. On the books so far are a variety of projects from autonomous vehicles to car-sharing systems and real-time monitoring of the bus fleet. Beeline as a crowdsourced and demand-driven bus service is simply the next experiment to be tested on its merits and practical feasibility.
Right now even with 300 bus routes spanning the island, there is an inevitable gap between the demand and supply of bus rides. Beeline serves to bridge this gap by enabling people to request new bus routes, and if sufficient demand is there, the bus company is induced to create the newly requested route. Ideally, and with enough popular demand beeline could create an organic, flexible and ever-changing network of bus routes spanning Singapore.
How it works.
You can book a seat on a Beeline bus at least a day in advance and up until the last day of the next month. This way your seat is guaranteed no matter on which part of the ride you jump on. Quite similar to Uber, payment is made through the app and transferred by means of PayPal or your Credit Card. After your payment has been made you will receive an e-ticket on your mobile device and you will be able to follow the Beeline Bus on a map on the app.
Most importantly, apart from booking a ticket on any of the existing routes you can suggest a new route, and if your sentiment is shared by enough fellow commuters the route should be added to the network.
Beeline is still in its beta stage and the IDA is waiting till the end of the first quarter of next year to see if it’s worth expanding. We have given the app a try and taken the mini-bus to work this morning, and we’re impressed. The thing about these projects is that its success is dependent on popularity, and for this to become a thing Beeline will need you (uncle Sam much) to download the app and take a ride. So if you feel this might be something for you, don’t hesitate to give it a try!
And then it was 2030…
As a property portal we can’t help but see developments like that of a crowdsourcing demand-driven bus service as something potentially intimately connected to real estate. Connectivity is vital in Singapore, and it is connected in rental and house-prices. Potentially, If companies like Beeline succeed to make the commuting network more organic this could seriously impact residential living in Singapore with far flung and otherwise unpopular locations becoming becoming more favorable to live in.
You can give Beeline a try here.