ComfortDelGro's new ComfortRide service will allow commuters to book cabs as well as an undisclosed number of private-hire cars
ComfortDelGro to trial dynamic fares from May 15 ComfortDelGro's new ComfortRide service will allow commuters to book rides from the company's fleet of 12,000 cabs as well as an undisclosed number of private-hire cars. PHOTO: ST FILE

Taxi giant ComfortDelGro will start testing a new service next Wednesday (May 15) which allows commuters to book rides from the company's fleet of 12,000 cabs as well as an undisclosed number of private-hire cars.

ComfortRide will be made available on its existing ComfortDelGro Taxi Booking App. Pilot testing of this app will be limited to "a small group of passengers initially".

"Depending on the response, it may be extended to more passengers at a later date," the company said.

The app will state upfront the cost of the ride, which will fluctuate according to demand - similar to how fares are levied by private-hire operators such as Grab and Gojek.

In a statement on Tuesday (May 7), ComfortDelGro said fares during peak periods "will be limited and not exponential". Conversely, fares will be lower during off-peak periods.

The company would not say how many private-hire vehicles it will be roping in for the new service, merely saying "the extra pool of vehicles will help ease the supply crunch, particularly during rainy days or when the demand outstrips supply".

It noted that the traditional metered taxi option will continue to be available.

Plans for the new service were reported by The Straits Times earlier on Tuesday.

ComfortDelGro Taxi chief executive Ang Wei Neng said: "Our volume of booking jobs for 2018 increased by 7.4 per cent, and is still experiencing an uptick in the first four months of 2019.

"The aim of ComfortRide is to meet the demand, especially during peak hours. With more taxis on the roads during peak hours, commuters will be confirmed a vehicle faster and their waiting time will be reduced."

This, in turn, will "create demand, so our cabbies can look forward to better earning opportunities and less empty cruising", he added.