Strides Premier Unveils Revamped Taxi Fleet with Focus on Green Technology and Free Wi-Fi for Passengers
We were complaining about the recent hike in taxi fares not too long ago, but would you feel better if you were entitled to free wi-fi during your future rides?
Strides Premier, Singapore’s newly merged and now second-largest cab operator, has recently introduced a brand new, revitalised taxi fleet, featuring a significant emphasis on green technology.
This move follows the merger of SMRT-owned Strides with Premier Taxis in May 2023.
“Striding” Towards Eco-friendly, Greener Hybrid Cars
The new fleet showcases six different models, with approximately 90% of them being hybrid or electric-powered, aligning with the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
(For those unfamiliar, an electric car emits fewer greenhouse gases – 17% to 30% lower carbon emissions than driving an internal combustion engine vehicle. It relies on a battery to power its motor and does not burn any fuel internally, lowering air and noise pollution.)
Among the 2,300 cabs currently on the roads, some already boast the newly designed Strides Premier logo. The rest of the taxi fleet is expected to undergo a progressive repainting process to incorporate the updated logo.
The majority of the car models in the new fleet were carried over from the previous individual companies, including the iconic bright green electric cars from Strides.
However, as part of the post-merger enhancements, the company also introduced new hybrid Toyota Corolla models, available in both sedan and touring versions.
Presently, 35 of these newly-added grey taxis are in operation.
Strides Premier aims to gradually phase out the remaining diesel cars in its fleet to create a more eco-friendly and predominantly hybrid lineup, as stated by CEO Ang Wei Neng.
The unveiling of the updated fleet and business strategy took place on 9 December 2023 at Strides Premier’s first major event post-merger.
Gen Z’s Dream Come True: Free Wi-Fi in Select Taxis!
In addition to the fleet enhancements, Strides Premier also revealed several other initiatives aimed at improving the overall taxi experience for both drivers and passengers.
These include welfare benefits for drivers and the introduction of free Wi-Fi services in select taxis.
(For my fellow friends with social anxiety, this means you can opt to watch YouTube videos guilt-free to avoid conversing with the driver!)
As part of a six-month pilot program, approximately 50 of Strides Premier’s taxis will offer free Wi-Fi for passengers. The company plans to evaluate the usage and effectiveness of this service before deciding on potential expansions.
These updates from Strides Premier come shortly after competing taxi operator ComfortDelGro announced plans to increase taxi fares from 13 December 2023, citing rising fuel prices, high inflation, and an upcoming goods and services tax hike in 2024.
ComfortDelGro’s decision to raise flag-down fares and other charges prompted questions about whether other taxi operators, including Strides Premier, would follow suit.
When questioned about potential fare increases, Mr Ang stated that no decision had been made yet.
“We are looking at the situation very closely and will see what is the feedback from passengers and hirers,” he concluded.
However, following the industry trend, Strides Premier will extend its evening peak-hour surcharge period by an hour, effective 13 December 2023, from 5 pm to 11.59 pm.
Additionally, a new peak-hour surcharge will be introduced from 10 am to 1.59 pm on weekends.
Addressing concerns about rental rates, Mr Ang highlighted that Strides Premier offers competitive rates, with daily rental rates for its newer cars falling below $100 before goods and services tax.
In an effort to enhance the well-being of its approximately 4,000 taxi drivers, the firm is offering discounts of more than 30% on fuel expenses and multiple vehicle servicing locations, as revealed in their Facebook page.
Strides Premier has also provided over $200,000 worth of education support and bursaries for the children of lower-income drivers.
Currently, discussions are underway with companies seeking transportation solutions for their staff, presenting an opportunity for taxi drivers to boost their earnings by providing employee transport services.
As of December 2023, these changes have been reportedly well-received by the drivers of Strides Premier.
How Will Things Look Moving Forward?
Looking ahead, Strides Premier aims to expand its hybrid fleet from its current number of 35 to 200 in the near future.
These new grey-coloured taxis will include models such as the Toyota Corolla and Kia Niro Plus.
Head of the urban transportation program at the Singapore University of Social Sciences Associate Professor Walter Theseira, noted that the renewal of taxi fleets is a routine market expectation in Singapore.
He highlighted that the taxi market is currently navigating towards a stable equilibrium after a period of disruption caused by the entrance of ride-hailing platforms such as Grab and Gojek to the market.
“But now that those aggressive discounts and incentives are over, the taxi market is trying to discover the right equilibrium,” he said.
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