Singapore’s super techie taxi driver

Jeffrey Oon
Technology

Imagine surfing the web on a laptop, charging your mobile phone, or even printing important documents — all during your taxi ride from home to work. This fascination is however, a reality on Mohammed Rafee Bin Naina Mohd's Comfort DelGro taxi.

The 49-year-old tech-savvy cabbie has installed a black and white printer that allows passengers to print their documents on the go, a VoIP phone that can be used to call friends or spouse anywhere in the world for free, and a digital video camera mounted next to his rear mirror.

Need to surf the web, but don't have a mobile data plan? No worries. His taxi is also equipped with a laptop with Wi-Fi connection so commuters can easily fire up Yahoo! Singapore on the browser and catch up with the latest news.

There are even two 30-volt power points and a host of phone chargers for passengers to charge their electronic devices. This is particularly useful for those who need a quick boost in their phone's battery life.

It's uncommon for taxi drivers here to install GPS systems in their cab, but Rafee's cab has one to help him home in on deserted locations he is unsure of.

The total amount of money he has spent so far on the equipment is $2,000. He doesn't charge his passengers for using his equipment, but he receives at least $10 in tips every day.

"I have regulars too, instead of driving around and looking for passengers for 10 hours, I rather have one passenger who's sitting inside for ten hours," Rafee told CNNGo. "I find it more worthwhile to have more regulars. So I don't charge them anything for my services."

38-year-old Comfort DelGro taxi driver Tan Beng Huat, however, thinks installing such electronic devices is redundant and could pose a potential target for car thieves.

"Singapore is a small country, thus travelling from destination A to B requires an average of just 10-15 minutes. I don't see a need to put in place such devices in my taxi," he told Yahoo! Singapore.

In New York, taxis are equipped with touch-screen monitors that let passengers watch TV, pay with credit cards and even check their location on GPS.

Meanwhile, Japanese mobile phone giant NTT Docomo and Tokyo taxi service Tokyo Musen have partnered to provide free Wi-Fi connectivity in taxis. And 100 of these taxis also have PSP Go devices on board so that passengers can indulge in games while on their ride.

The writer is a 16-year-old technology blogger who loves social media and gadgets. He is also Singapore's No. 1 Twitter user, with 180,000 followers.

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