MVL launches Tada taxi service, promises same zero commission

PHOTO: The New Paper

Mass Vehicle Ledger Foundation (MVL), the company behind the zero-commission ride-hailing service Tada, has followed up with a taxi-booking service with the same "no commission" promise.

Called Tada Taxi, the service allows commuters to book rides from taxi drivers registered with MVL, and will be available as a standalone application.

Users of the existing Tada app, which was launched in July this year, will also have the new taxi booking service as an option, separate from its current private-hire ride-hailing service.

Fares are determined by the taxi meter, and MVL said it will not impose any levy on the booking fee set by each taxi company.

MVL chief executive Kay Woo said during the launch event at its Ubi office yesterday: "The fare is going to be exactly the same but the driver's income will be very different."

"They do not need to pay any commission to our platform, they can take all those benefits for themselves. More money, more income," he added.

Grab, for example, charges a 60-cent commission on standard metered taxi rides booked via its app, while a 3 per cent levy is imposed on taxi drivers who pick up flat-fare bookings below $10 on their JustGrab service.

For JustGrab fares $11 and above, the levy is 12 per cent.

Around 2,000 taxi drivers have so far signed up for the new service, Mr Woo said. The firm aims to get 5,000 taxi drivers on board by the end of this year in order to achieve the necessary network effect and provide a smooth experience for users.

At the launch, Mr Woo cited the example of workers who need to commute during rush hour when explaining why Tada Taxi was needed.

These commuters might choose to take a taxi to avoid higher fares due to surge pricing, Mr Woo said, but currently face a lack of taxi-booking options and are poorly served.

Tada Taxi's launch comes after MVL received its Third Party Taxi Booking Service Provider licence from the Land Transport Authority on Nov 7.

MVL's general manager Jonathan Chua said the company has been in talks with all the taxi companies here since applying for the licence two months ago, inviting their drivers to join the Tada platform.

While MVL has not received formal endorsements from the taxi companies, Mr Chua said they were receptive.

Mr Woo said the onus is on the individual taxi drivers to register for Tada Taxi and MVL will validate their information with the respective companies.

Anticipating a rise in taxi ridership within the next two or three months, Mr Woo added: "We believe that we brought an impact to the ride-hailing industry, and we also believe that Tada Taxi could bring another impact for customer choice and (taxi) ridership."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.