ComfortDelGro to partner Finnish startup to launch 'Netflix of transport' app in SG


ANOTHER startup in the transport space that offers subscription packages for various forms of transport is arriving in Singapore.

Finland's MaaS Global on Monday said it would pilot its subscription service here via its Whim mobile app in a partnership with ComfortDelGro. A commercial launch is expected in the first quarter of 2019.

MaaS Global - which stands for Mobility as a Service - works by offering subscription to commuters to all means of transport: trains, buses, taxis, car sharing and bikes. Subscribers can choose a monthly package, or just pay as they go.

It claims to be the world's first "mobility as a service" operator and works on a similar concept as Singapore's MobilityX, the startup backed by Singapore subway operator SMRT Corp.

MobilityX's app is named "Jalan", which means to walk in Malay, and is more generally used to mean a form of travel.

MobilityX in October said it had raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from lead investor Toyota Tsusho Corp. The startup and Toyota Tsusho, the general trading arm of carmaker Toyota Group, have also signed a master collaboration agreement to focus on technology development and regional expansion. The proceeds will be used to expand MobilityX's deployment of its integrated mobility-as-a-service solution in Singapore and the region.

MaaS Global said it plans to partner major car-rental companies, car-sharing, bike-share and scooter-share operators, as well as public transport in Singapore. In its press statement, Kaj Pyyhtiä, the co-founder of MaaS Global, said the launch in Singapore via partnerships here is the perfect way to enter the Asian markets and make mobility as a service available in the region.

This also comes as the market watches for the potential entrance of ride-hailing firm Go-Jek. Dubbed as Grab's largest rival in the region, the Indonesian startup is reportedly due to enter Singapore as soon as this month.

ComfortDelGro, which runs Singapore's largest fleet of taxis, will provide users with the taxi option of their journey, saying that commuters can transit from a train or bus, and finish the trip on a bicycle.

Ang Wei Neng, CEO of ComfortDelGro Singapore Taxi Business, said the "seamless digital offering" will provide commuters with another channel to book ComfortDelGro taxis.

The Whim service is already running in Helsinki, Birmingham and Antwerp, with around 60,000 active users.

Shares of ComfortDelGro closed unchanged on Monday at S$2.36.