Singapore’s most tech-enabled taxi

Singapore’s most tech-enabled taxi

GPS, a laptop, printer, VOIP phone, Wi-Fi, plug sockets ... Meet Mohammed Rafee, owner of Singapore's most connected cab

Meet Mohammed Rafee Bin Naina Mohd, a former technician turned taxi driver who's pimped out his cab to offer customers a few good reasons -- aside from his winning personality -- to love their ride with him.

Unlike many of Singapore's cab drivers who don't even know how to turn on the GPS system, this savvy driver has outfitted his Comfort DelGro taxi into a geek’s wet dream.

In the backseat, there is a cleverly hidden printer -- black and white only -- a laptop stowed under his front seat for anyone’s use, an IP-enabled camera mounted next to his rear-view mirror to send what it sees to other mobile devices, and if you need to call home to Dallas or Timbuktu, he's hooked up a VOIP Phone which costs next to nothing to make a "I miss you baby" phone call.

Need to juice up your electronics? He's got two 30-volt plugs for you to plug and charge and a host of phone chargers for your mobile phone, whatever the make or model. There’s also Wi-Fi in his taxi, so no matter where the taxi goes, you’re always connected to the Internet.

Mohammed Rafee Bin Naina MohdMohammed Rafee has more than a street map at his disposal, and yes, he knows how to read it. Best of all what Rafee offers won’t cost you a cent.

“Whatever I do is for myself," says Rafee "I enjoy all the things that I have set up."

"When I’m driving, I can’t touch anything but at least passengers can benefit from it. They are [sometimes] paying S$20 for a trip (with ERP and extra charges), what is it for me to give them back S$0.20 [for using my services]?"

“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," says Rafee. "I find it more worthwhile to have more regulars. So I don’t charge them anything for my services.”

Right now, Rafee gets two to three all-day bookings a week mostly from property agents who ferry clients to house viewings and find it useful to be able to go online to show clients reviews and photographs of the house before arriving.

His other regulars include camera crew who use his services to scout out locations.

Mohammed Rafee Bin Naina MohdAll wired up and ready to make your ride a smooth one. “They sit in my taxi and tell me to go to different locations," says Rafee.

"When we arrive, I use my IP camera to video the location. The crew will call their producer to go to my weblink and look at the location."

"If their producers are happy, then they’ll snap a picture and send an email over from my taxi. This can go on for the whole day [10 hours or more].”

So if Rafee's been able to run a thriving business, why aren’t there more taxis-cum-mobile offices out there?

“They are worried about LTA [Land Transport Authority] and DelGro," says Rafee about his fellow cab drivers who've expressed interest.

"They've said they're interested but told me ‘I waste my money and my time to outfit my taxi, then I get called up to drink coffee [slang for getting interrogated] with them.’”

Comfort DelGro (the taxi company) has not stopped him from outfitting his taxi, but they have warned him that should they receive negative feedback from passengers, he will have to remove everything from his taxi.

Rafee however isn't fussed. "I’m not doing anything illegal so I’m going with it.”

Mohammed Rafee Bin Naina Mohd may be contacted at +65 9696 6595 for bookings.

I am a computer dude and ex-academic (although I won’t say it too loudly) who took time off to tour Asia and write about it. And I’ve not stopped writing since.

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