NEC to test on-demand bus booking in Singapore, debut set for world transportation event

18, Oct. 2019

NEC's on-demand bus service covers the seven areas of the central Singapore (Image courtesy of NEC Asia Pacific)
NEC's on-demand bus service covers the seven areas of the central Singapore (Image courtesy of NEC Asia Pacific)

SINGAPORE, NNA – Japan’s NEC Corp. will try out its first ever on-demand bus service in Singapore next week using an app co-developed by a local startup.

The company’s regional headquarters said Wednesday it was ready to deploy the Ally app to help people book bus routes and other rides in seven parts of the Southeast Asian financial center. It’s working with startup app developer and service provider Ministry of Movement Pte. Ltd.

The trials Monday through Thursday will coincide with the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Center. Companies from around the world will mix at the event with some 10,000 transportation experts, Shinya Hashizume, senior manager of regional public relations at NEC Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., told NNA in a phone interview Thursday.

The on-demand partners plan to operate up to four buses, each with space for 13 passengers, to give visitors free rides to more than 300 locations registered in the app, Hashizume said. The app knows about hotels and restaurants among other venues.

Ministry of Movement has created a bus routing algorithm for the app with the help of NEC’s machine learning technologies. Buses access the app to find suitable routes based on passenger input. Wait times for the buses is expected to be 10 minutes, he said.

“We’re positioning the transportation sector as our strategic business field,” the company official said. “The partnership is part of our efforts.”

The app can recommend potential places of interest, including shops, restaurants and attractions based on a user’s age, gender, interests and exact location, Hashizume added.

The 4-year-old local venture called SWAT also runs on-demand bus services in Australia and Vietnam. In Singapore, it had already launched a service for specific corporate clients, Hashizume said.

The venture counts Singaporean land transport provider ComfortDelGro Corp as a shareholder.