PETALING JAYA: The region’s fastest-growing ride-sharing service operator Grab has introduced a carpooling app which offers cheaper rides while helping to ease traffic congestion.
Grab’s country manager Jaygan Fu said the latest GrabHitch app allows car owners to offer carpooling services to cost-conscious commuters, particularly those who need to travel a distance on a regular or daily basis.
“According to a study by Nielsen, Malaysia has the third highest car ownership globally, where 93% of households own at least a car and 54% have more than one car.
“This represents a significant pool of vehicles with extra seats for more passengers and the potential to play a part in improving the nation’s transportation network,” he said during the launch of the GrabHitch app here yesterday.
Besides reducing fares by between 50% and 85%, he said the carpooling service would help ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution in the long run.
Fu said the new app service would not erode existing conventional taxi service but would complement alternative public transportation needs.
The app will allow registered GrabHitch drivers to key in their routes to match with potential passengers for a deal to be struck based on mutual consent.
The app also requires drivers and passengers to log on to Facebook as an added security measure, in which both parties can see if they share mutual friends.
“Both parties can indicate that they only want to travel with the same gender,” he said.
He also said GrabHitch was open for registration for drivers above 18 and with a year’s driving experience, while commuters can start scheduling their rides from May 15.
“We will be offering free rides through our Free GrabHitch Day on May 16 to kick off the new service,” he added.
On resistance to GrabCar, Fu said many had signed up with GrabCar and the opposition was coming from a small number of disgruntled taxi drivers who were not using the app.
On a proposal to regulate Grabcar drivers, Fu said the company was working closely with the Land Public Transport Commission and would abide by its decision.
The Grab app has been downloaded on more than 15 million smartphones with 270,000 vehicles registered under the Grab network in six countries in the Asean region.