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Transit app Zipster to launch monthly subscription plans for public transport, ride-hailing in 2020

Transit app Zipster to launch monthly subscription plans for public transport, ride-hailing in 2020

The Zipster app, officially launched by Singapore-based start-up MobilityX on Sep 16 2019, will allow users to pay a flat monthly fee for travel via buses, trains or private-hire cars. (Photo: Zhaki Abdullah)

SINGAPORE: Within the next six months, commuters here will have access to virtually unlimited rides on buses and trains, as well as discounted rides on ride-hailing services and shared-bikes with a flat monthly fee.

By early next year, all-in-one transit app Zipster - officially launched on Monday (Sep 16) by local start-up MobilityX - aims to offer commuters between three and five different subscription plans depending on their transport needs.

While the prices of these subscriptions have yet to be confirmed, they are likely to cost from S$50 to about S$100, and allow users to save up to 20 per cent on transport every month, mobilityX CEO Colin Lim told reporters on Monday.

This is in line with Zipster’s mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) model - referring to apps which allow commuters to plan their journeys and pay for different transport modes through a single platform.

The subscription plans are likely to allow for some level of customisation based on a user's specific needs, said Mr Lim. 

"If you live next to an MRT station, versus say someone living in a private estate, obviously your requirements are very different," he noted. 

mobilityX - which is backed by transport operator SMRT as well as Toyota Tsusho, the general trading arm of carmaker Toyota - has also partnered MasterCard and fintech start-up MatchMove to facilitate digital payments, with a Zipster MasterCard expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Meanwhile, a tie-up between mobilityX and the Nanyang Technological University will allow environmentally-conscious commuters to calculate the carbon footprint of their transport choices through the Zipster app. 

mobilityX is currently partnered with eight different companies - including ride-hailing firms Grab and Gojek, electric car-sharing service BlueSG and bike-sharing firm Anywheel - to offer their services through its app, which has about 16,000 users following a beta-launch in April this year. 

These are at "different stages of integration" with the platform, Mr Lim said.

For example, while it is possible to book a private-hire car ride through Zipster, users will still be directed to the Grab or Gojek apps. 


Speaking at Zipster's launch at The Star Vista, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said it was the first "bao ka liao" mobility app, using a Hokkien phrase that means "all-in-one".

"When our agencies first encounter such new ideas, the initial thought was that these might run contrary to our current rules and regulations," said Mr Chee. 

"Fortunately, our regulators are open to new ideas and they are prepared to change their assumptions and positions based on feedback."

mobilityX got the green light to trial subscription-based pricing after working closely with a few government agencies, he said.

He added that Enterprise Singapore is working with the start-up to bring Zipster to other countries in the region.

While Grab has also entered the MaaS sector - the Singapore-based firm now offers a transit journey planner in addition to ride-hailing and e-scooter sharing services on its app - Mr Lim believes Zipster's advantage is that it offers an open ecosystem that allows users to choose from rides across a variety of services. 

He stresses that there are no plans to turn Zipster into a "super-app", similar to Grab or Gojek, which offer a variety of services ranging from food delivery to courier services in addition to transport.

"At this point in time, we have no desire to be a super-app. We’re just a 30-person start-up, who want to do a very good transport experience."

Source: CNA/az(hm)


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