Uber rival GrabTaxi plans carpooling service in Singapore

GrabTaxi is looking to launch a carpooling service in Singapore called GrabHitch.
GrabTaxi is looking to launch a carpooling service in Singapore called GrabHitch.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Ride-hailing app GrabTaxi, which competes with Uber Technologies in South-east Asia, is planning to launch a carpooling service in Singapore, one of the most expensive cities in the world to own a car.

"GrabHitch hits the sweet spot for people who want a door-to-door transport service, but prefer not to pay a premium above public train or bus fares," Ms Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder of GrabTaxi, said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 11).

Singapore, which levies high taxes on car owners, introduced rules for carpooling earlier this year, which allow the driver to accept compensation, either monetary or in kind, from the passenger but not for profit.

GrabHitch, which will be launched to all consumers in Singapore by end-2015, will compete with existing services and websites, such as Ryde and Tripda.

GrabTaxi, which counts a unit of Temasek Holdings, Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank and China Investment Corporation as shareholders, has raised about US$700 million since it was launched in 2012.