The Evolution of Ride-Hailing in Singapore: Adapting to the Needs of Commuters

Explore the transformative journey of ride-hailing services in Singapore as they dynamically respond to the diverse needs of commuters. Delve into the evolution of transportation solutions, from the inception of ride-hailing to its current innovative adaptations, shaping a seamless and personalized commuting experience for Singaporeans. Discover how these services have navigated challenges and evolved, meeting the changing demands of urban mobility in Singapore's dynamic landscape.


11/17/20235 min read

yellow taxi cab on the street during daytime
yellow taxi cab on the street during daytime

Image Source: Unsplash

The ride-hailing industry in Singapore has seen significant growth in recent years, driven by the increasing demand for convenient and efficient transportation options. As the number of daily commuters continues to rise, authorities are taking steps to review the structure and regulatory framework of the point-to-point transport industry to ensure that services remain relevant and meet the evolving needs of commuters. In this article, we will explore the key developments in the ride-hailing sector, the challenges faced by operators, and the measures being taken to address them.

The Rise of Ride-Hailing in Singapore

The introduction of ride-hailing services in Singapore has revolutionized the way commuters travel within the city-state. Companies like Gojek, Grab, Tada, and Zig have emerged as popular choices for Singaporeans, offering a convenient alternative to traditional taxis. The ease of booking rides through mobile apps, competitive pricing, and a wide range of vehicle options have made ride-hailing an attractive option for many commuters.

According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the number of daily trips made through both street-hail and ride-hailing services has witnessed a significant increase. From 517,000 trips in 2020, the daily trips rose by 18.6% to reach 613,000 in July 20231. This growth highlights the growing preference for ride-hailing services among commuters.

The Importance of a Stable Supply of Rides

One of the key areas of focus in the review of the point-to-point transport industry is ensuring the stability of the supply of taxis and ride-hailing services. It is crucial to address issues such as ride shortages during peak hours or late-night periods. Commuters rely on these services for their daily transportation needs, and disruptions in the availability of rides can cause inconvenience and frustration.

To tackle this challenge, authorities are engaging in discussions with taxi and ride-hailing operators, as well as industry associations, such as the National Taxi Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association1. By collaborating with stakeholders, the aim is to identify strategies that can improve the stability of the supply of rides and minimize disruptions.

Meeting the Diverse Needs of Commuters

In addition to ensuring a stable supply of rides, it is equally important to cater to the specific needs of different commuter groups. The review of the point-to-point transport industry will focus on making services more accessible and inclusive for everyone, including wheelchair users and families with young children1. This commitment to inclusivity reflects the evolving nature of the industry and the need to accommodate the diverse needs of commuters.

To gather insights and feedback from various commuter groups, the LTA will actively seek input from different stakeholders. This will help in identifying areas where improvements can be made to enhance the overall commuting experience for all individuals.

The Role of Taxis in the Point-to-Point Sector

While the demand for traditional taxi services has decreased in recent years, taxis still play a crucial role in serving high-demand locations, such as Changi Airport, as well as catering to commuters who may be less technologically savvy1. Despite the decline in demand, taxi services remain an essential component of the point-to-point transport industry in Singapore.

It is important to strike a balance between the traditional taxi services and ride-hailing options. Both have their unique advantages and cater to different segments of the commuting population. The review of the industry's structure and regulatory framework aims to find ways to optimize the utilization of taxis while also addressing the changing preferences of commuters.

Collaborative Efforts to Improve Driver Conduct

As part of the ongoing review, discussions have taken place between authorities, operators, and industry associations to make helpful changes to rules relating to driver conduct1. One such change is the removal of the legal requirement for drivers to search their vehicles for items left behind by passengers after every trip. Instead, this practice will become part of the operators' best practices.

This collaborative approach between regulators, operators, and associations demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the overall experience for both drivers and passengers. By streamlining processes and removing unnecessary burdens, the aim is to create a more efficient and driver-friendly environment.

Ensuring Driver Supply and Flexibility

A key challenge faced by the ride-hailing industry is ensuring an adequate supply of drivers on the roads throughout the day. Unlike public transport, which is supported by taxpayers, the point-to-point sector operates on market forces1. This means that drivers need to have the flexibility to determine their working hours and income.

Platforms like Grab and Gojek have been actively working to recruit more drivers and improve their productivity on the roads. For example, Gojek has introduced tools that allow drivers to choose to work within predefined areas for a fixed period, reducing idle time and increasing the number of trips they can complete. These initiatives aim to address the challenge of driver supply while also providing drivers with the flexibility they desire.

The Evolution of the Driver Pool

The number of active drivers in the point-to-point sector has seen a significant increase in recent years. According to the LTA, there were approximately 63,000 active drivers in the first half of 2023, a 15% increase compared to the last quarter of 20221. While the number of active taxi drivers has remained stable at around 21,000, the pool of private-hire vehicle drivers has grown by more than 15% to approximately 42,0001.

The increase in the number of drivers reflects the growing popularity of ride-hailing services among individuals seeking flexible employment opportunities. However, ensuring a balance between driver supply and demand remains a challenge that needs to be addressed to maintain a sustainable and efficient transportation network.

Improving the Licensing Process

To support the growing number of drivers in the point-to-point sector, efforts have been made to streamline the licensing process. The average waiting time for the approval of applications to attend vocational-license training courses has been reduced from 10 days in March to four days in July. This reduction in waiting time ensures that drivers can quickly complete the necessary training and enter the industry.

By simplifying and expediting the licensing process, authorities are facilitating the entry of new drivers into the industry, thereby contributing to a more robust and diverse driver pool.

Striking a Balance between Regulation and Market Forces

The review of the point-to-point transport industry is a delicate process that requires striking a balance between regulation and market forces. While it is important to have regulations in place to ensure the safety and quality of services, excessive regulations can stifle innovation and limit the growth of the industry.

Authorities in Singapore recognize the need to strike this delicate balance. By engaging in discussions with operators, associations, and other stakeholders, they aim to identify areas where regulations can be improved or streamlined, while still maintaining a high level of service quality and safety.

The Future of Ride-Hailing in Singapore

As the point-to-point transport industry continues to evolve, it is important for operators and authorities to adapt to the changing needs of commuters. The ongoing review of the industry's structure and regulatory framework demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that ride-hailing services remain relevant and provide a convenient and reliable transportation option for all individuals.

Through collaborative efforts and a focus on innovation, ride-hailing companies in Singapore can continue to enhance the overall commuting experience and contribute to a more efficient and sustainable transportation network.


The rise of ride-hailing in Singapore has transformed the way commuters travel within the city-state. As the number of daily trips continues to increase, authorities are reviewing the structure and regulatory framework of the point-to-point transport industry to ensure that services stay relevant and meet the evolving needs of commuters. By addressing the stability of ride supply, catering to the needs of different commuter groups, and improving driver conduct and flexibility, the industry can continue to thrive and provide a convenient transportation option for all individuals. Through collaborative efforts and a focus on innovation, ride-hailing companies in Singapore can shape the future of transportation in the city-state.

This article was written by with expertise in the transportation industry. For more information about ride-hailing services in Singapore, visit the official websites of Gojek, Grab, Tada, and Zig. To compare ride-hailing options, download the WokayGo mobile app.