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Sharing Economy

Grab to integrate public transport data in Southeast Asian mega cities

Ride-hailer eyes train and bus fare payments

Grab will integrate public transport information to its ride-hailing app in Singapore. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

SINGAPORE -- Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailer Grab will add public transport information to its platform as it moves a step closer to becoming a one-stop mobility app.

The new service called "Trip Planner" will integrate publicly available transport data as well as other real-time information from partner transport operators. It will be launched this week in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Trip Planner will allow users to view public transit routes, along with ride-hailing suggestions for the first and last mile of each journey, as well as alerts on delay and schedule changes for some transport options.

Initially, the new service will only display public transport information, but Grab plans to add a function to enable consumers to pay for the entire journey with once touch.

"Trip Planner is one of our first steps towards integrating Grab with public transport," Ngiam Xinwei, head of marketplace and shared mobility at Grab, told Nikkei Asian Review in an interview, adding that Grab envisioned a future where all users had to do was "pay [for public transport] with the Grab app'' and then put the phone in their pocket.

Grab is still to negotiate financial arrangements with public transport operators, and there are technical hurdles to overcome such as how users would ride on trains or buses without physical tickets.

Grab operates ride-hailing services in eight countries across Southeast Asia, and will start the Trip Planner in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur because those cities have more developed public transport systems with easily accessible data.

The ride-hailing company has been testing Trip Planner in Jakarta since late February ahead of the launch of the Indonesian capital's first MRT service in March. Jakarta's MRT operator expects to attract users by tapping into Grab and other ride hailing services.

While Grab's Trip Planner might be a boon for competing transport operators, Grab views this as being in line with its vision to help reduce congestion and push smart mobility. Trip Planner will be "a win-win for everybody involved, including the governments and us," said Ngiam.

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