Singapore’s Ryde to launch carpooling service here on Nov 1

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019

Zou says the app will recommend an amount that will help cover the driver’s costs for the trip. — SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

A new not-for-profit carpooling company, Ryde, is planning to roll out its service on Malaysian roads starting Nov 1.

Its founder and chief executive officer Terence Zou says unlike e-hailing service or taxis, the RydePool service aims to encourage carpooling as a communal and eco-friendly activity, rather than as a profession.

“Payments to the driver are to defray their costs. The sum is actually below the trip cost, unlike a taxi which is above the cost of the trip,” he said.

Rather than a fixed fare, the app will recommend an amount that will help cover the driver’s costs for the trip, taking into account the distance travelled, petrol, toll and car depreciation cost.

In Malaysia, Ryde does not take any commission on payments, which currently can only be made in cash.

Asked if drivers will require a Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) license, as mandated for e-hailing services, Zou believes it is not necessary as the carpooling platform is not for profit here.

He adds that in Singapore, there is a distinction made between carpooling and ride hire services, with only the latter required to get an equivalent of a PSV license.

The company, founded in Singapore in 2015, takes its not-for-profit stance one step further there, allowing drivers to only pick up passengers twice a day, as to not make it a business.

He says the company makes a point to engage local authorities for advice, however it has not started discussions with the Transport Ministry.

During the launch, Zou revealed that several hundred users have downloaded the driver’s app, and the company will begin processing the registrations soon.

He targets to reach 5,000 drivers by the end of year. Singapore currently has 25,000 registered drivers.

To register as a driver, users will have to submit their identification card, contact number, driving license, profile photo, car registration details and photo to Ryde for verification.

Passengers, who will have to use a separate app, will have to submit their profile photo and contact number

Zou says there are plans to expand to Johor, Penang and Melaka. An interstate version, RideCity, is also in the pipeline.

The app uses geo-location technology to match drivers and commuters, and users are encouraged to book in advance to stand a higher chance of getting a driver with the same schedule.

Once matched with a driver, users can save the person’s info for future bookings. Future matches will depend on if the driver is using the same route.

Both parties can cancel without a penalty. However, they are rated based on cancellation rates – anyone exceeding 20% will be suspended.

Driver and passengers will also be able to file complaints and are encouraged to rate each other after a drive, as this will help the company weed out bad users.

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