Manila is the second-most congested city in the world. Source: Shutterstock

Smart mobility app eases corporate travel in Manila

  • Smart mobility firm launched the first corporate smart transportation solution in the Philippines, for its first client KMC solutions 

A smart mobility tech firm from Singapore has teamed up with Toyota Motor Philippines to kick off the first corporate smart transportation solution in the Philippines.

The first client is KMC Solutions, the largest co-working and staff leasing service provider in the Philippines.

Singapore-based SWAT Mobility is providing its IoT- and AI-powered solution to enable KMC Solutions employees to book rides within the bustling Metro Manila area, via its SWATBiz app.

SWAT saw the hectic Metro Manila area as a perfect testbed to launch its inaugural corporate transportation method, as the congested metropolitan area is rife with traffic headaches which SWAT Mobility believes it is uniquely suited to handle.

According to the 2019 Traffic Index by TomTom, which ranks congestion in cities around the world, Manila has the second-worst traffic congestion out of the 416 cities surveyed. Tied with first place Bengaluru in India, drivers in Metro Manila spend an average of 71% extra travel time stuck in traffic.

The TomTom report noted that Filipinos lost 10 days and 17 hours for driving during rush hour over the year. In addition, 29 minutes are added per 30-minute trip in the morning rush, and additional 38 minutes per 30-minute trip while driving in the evening, effectively doubling travel times during peak periods.

Between the road traffic congestion and the outmoded and overstrained rail transit systems, it was felt by some quarters that Metro Manila is in a ‘mass transportation crisis’. The SWAT Mobility team feels that its technology is best positioned to plug the corporate travel gaps present in the current system.

“Deploying in the Philippines is especially meaningful because we can directly impact people’s lives by significantly reducing their commute time,” stated Jarrold Ong, SWAT Mobility’s CEO. “Intelligent transport solutions like ours help fill the gaps in urban transport systems; when applied on a larger scale, we can improve congestion levels and quality of life for people in the Philippines.”

KMC Solutions had implemented shuttle services for its employees and clients, with public transportation limited by the coronavirus pandemic. But the company found that its administrative staff were spending nights and weekends taking bookings, planning, and manually reporting transport arrangements for the shuttles, according to Alex Gomez, vice-president for people and culture at KMC.

SWAT Mobility is working with ride partner Toyota Motor Philippines & KMC Solutions to improve work travel in Metro Manila

SWAT Mobility is working with ride partner Toyota Motor Philippines & KMC Solutions to improve work travel in Metro Manila. Source: Manila Bulletin

SWAT says with its system employees can track their bus right to the pick-up point, and not have to brave the long lines at Metro Manila’s rail stations or pack themselves into overflowing jeepneys. The mobility startup claims it automates approximately 90% of the manual tasks in managing a corporate shuttle fleet, and has managed to increase fleet efficiency by 20 to 30%.

In a recent interview, newly appointed SWAT Mobility president, Grace Ho, noted that SWAT’s core technology is its dynamic high-capacity pooling algorithm, that enables it to efficiently pool riders and to dynamically recalculate travel routes to quickly adapt to changing traffic conditions.

Through the SWATBiz app (the passenger app is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play), KMC Solutions passengers can make ride bookings, navigate to locations in real-time, and instantly calculate distances to determine the best routes to reach different points, utilizing daily demand data that the app collects.

In addition to the passenger mobile app, the SWAT Mobility ecosystem of integrated services is completed with the SWATBiz Driver app, and the Operations Interface that manages the interoperability between the applications as well as provides real-time monitoring, reporting, setup of new services, and analysis of past trips.

KMC Solutions signed up to be the first business client in the Philippines, as the co-working and talent resource firm realized it needed to adapt to new working and traveling norms for its staff, as the Philippines is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.