SMRT using Grab technology to streamline taxi operations

SMRT Corporation subsidiary SMRT Road and ride-hailing app Grab on Wednesday announced a technology partnership aimed at streamlining SMRT taxi drivers' operations while on the road. The partnership will see Grab providing its software as a service for use by the transport operator.

Under the partnership, an enhanced Grab Driver app, jointly developed by SMRT and Grab, will be launched for SMRT's taxi drivers from Oct 1, the companies said in a joint statement.

The app, which will be rolled out fleetwide by the end of the year, will progressively replace the mobile display units in SMRT taxis. It will enable drivers to manage earnings and receive jobs from across SMRT's existing booking system, street hail and the Grab platform.

These bookings will be assigned to drivers intelligently using Grab's allocation technology, helping to improve their productivity, SMRT and Grab said.

With the app, drivers can start their taxi meter when they opt for street hail jobs, and control their rooftop signs when they have a passenger onboard.

As the app is built using Grab's transport technology, SMRT drivers will benefit from existing tech features such as an in-app navigation tool that provides real-time updates on road conditions, and a demand heat map pointing drivers to areas with high passenger demand.

Updated mapping tools and ride optimisation features on Grab's platform also mean passengers can expect shorter wait times for drivers once their bookings are allocated.

In addition, Grab has built a Web-based fleet operations platform to streamline SMRT's operational needs, while SMRT has set up dedicated cloud-based infrastructure to "ensure an optimal experience for its drivers and operations team".

Grab's solution will let SMRT supervise and control its entire dispatch and fleet operations from a central portal efficiently, the companies said.

The Web portal enables SMRT operations officers to register new vehicles in the fleet, and suspend errant drivers and customers quickly if required. They will also be able to track bookings in real time, and send in-app notifications to drivers if there are important announcements.

If a driver presses the driver's panic button in an emergency, SMRT will be alerted and can identify the vehicle's location through the portal.

The companies said the new partnership aims to better prepare taxi drivers for an increasingly digitised marketplace.

SMRT Roads president Tan Kian Heong said the new system will "seamlessly" integrate Grab's driver app with SMRT's street hail system, bringing convenience and more job opportunities to SMRT taxi drivers.

SMRT is helping its drivers learn how to use the enhanced system so that they can quickly benefit from it, he added.