Intelligent COMmuter – ICOM.sg October 3, 2009Posted by hafizbam in Miscellaneous, Premium Bus, Something New.
Tags: Icom, Intelligent Commuter, Premium Bus, private bus
Largely unknown until reported in The Straits Times not too long ago is a special kind of bus service provision in the form of Intelligent Commuter or Icom. It is basically an online platform created for those looking for a faster and more comfortable commute. All you have to do is to register yourself at the website http://www.intelligentcommuter.com and submit a request for the route(s) that you want. Once a sufficient number of commuters have indicated interest in a particular route, Icom works with a private bus operator to offer it.
And all this without having to go through any form of permit approval from the Public Transport Council (PTC) since it is considered a privately arranged contract bus service.
Started by Mr Lim Chun Yong, 31, an environmental engineering PhD student at Nanyang Technological University and currently Icom’s director for business development, the site has already seen about 300 commuters signed up. Together with his brother Lawrence, they have tied up with private bus operator Sunny Lim, 47, to run a route between Yew Tee and Biopolis in the morning, with passengers paying a monthly fee of $70 to get to work.
Not bad considering that Icom tries its best to design the route such that no one needs to walk more than 100 metres to get to his pick-up point – an attractive offering that sets itself apart from the more than 70 premium bus services already in the market. And of course, there’s a seat guaranteed for everyone since a fixed group of commuters takes the bus daily.
For the effort, Icom will take a 5 to 10 percent cut of the fares, with the bus operator taking the rest. More routes are in the pipeline, such as to the underserved Changi Business Park. The company is also planning to work with more bus operators for future routes, which would be quite an achievement considering that just two years ago, the Lims had trouble getting even one of the ten bus operators they approached to run a Punggol – one-north route which had garnered enough potential commuters.
Icom’s efforts is definitely offering commuters with more choices and is in line with the government’s push to get the masses to utilise the expanding public transport network. The best thing about Icom has got to be its ability to carve out a niche for itself in Singapore’s tightly regulated public bus service market and in the process, showcasing to the two transport giants SMRT and SBS Transit that there are still lots of gaps to fill and a whole lot of work to be done in meeting the public’s constantly changing travel needs.