“Slightly more than half of the 1,929 Singaporeans interviewed in a recent survey, or 53 per cent, want the authorities to legislate third-party apps, such as Uber and GrabCar” (53 Per Cent Of Singaporeans Want Third-Party Apps To Be Governed, Amanda Lee).
In addition to the general findings by market research firm YouGov – which found that 53 per cent of [the 1,929] Singaporeans interviewed “want the authorities to legislate third-party apps, such as Uber and GrabCar” (TODAY, Oct. 21) – questions should be asked of the profile of these respondents, a breakdown of the observations across different segments, as well as the framing of the questions. More specifically:
1. Of the 53 per cent who think the government should legislate private car sharing apps, what is the extent of their support? More importantly, how do they interpret legislation and regulation? Along this tangent, what are the specific policies they would support, and how do they envision government intervention?
2. As an extension, do demographics or usage statistics influence these responses? For instance, are younger or more technologically-savvy users more likely to think that the government should not intervene with private car sharing apps? Likewise, it seems reasonable to conclude that more active users would prefer less intervention.
In addition, did YouGov ascertain whether respondents were taxi drivers or operators with apps such as UberX or GrabCar, since they could bias the findings?
3. How many of the respondents have used these sharing apps before, compared to those who have not, and with what frequency? One could advance the hypothesis that respondents who have never used these apps – and by extension, do not understand their functionality and perhaps their benefits or disadvantages – may not provide informed responses.
With talk of potential modifications in this shared economy, proponents argue that taxi drivers and commuters would be granted with a fair playing field and greater security respectively, while opponents counter that such interference disregards the benefits – such as convenience and cost – associated with these disruptive apps. Most will, however, agree that more balanced evaluations, guided by more consultative surveys and fact-based propositions, are necessary for constructive discourse.
A version of this article was published in TODAY.