New ride-hailing firm Tada enters market, says it will not impose dynamic pricing

Mass Vehicle Ledger founder Kay Woo said Tada, which means "let's ride" in Korean, currently has more than 2,000 drivers signed up on its platform. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Another firm has entered Singapore's ride-hailing market, joining a slew of others which made similar moves following Uber's exit earlier this year.

Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) Foundation launched its ride-hailing application Tada at a media event on Thursday (July 26) at its Ubi office.

MVL founder Kay Woo said Tada, which means "let's ride" in Korean, currently has more than 2,000 drivers signed up on its platform.

It hopes to increase this number to "about 3,000 or 4,000" by next month (August), said Mr Woo, who is from South Korea.

With its entry, Singapore now has Tada, Filo Technologies, Ryde, Kardi as well as India's Jugnoo going up against the incumbent Grab.

The market is set to get even more crowded with Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek's impending entry.

Mr Woo is the entrepreneur behind easi6, a car-booking platform that offers services between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

MVL hopes to entice drivers with a no-commission model, he said. This differentiates Tada from competitors such as Grab, which charges drivers a fee of 20 per cent per fare.

However, Tada collects 3.4 per cent of each fare paid by electronic payment, which Mr Woo said is used for the maintenance of its platform.

Nothing is collected with cash transactions, he said.

Instead of employing dynamic pricing - where prices increase or decrease based on demand - Tada will impose surcharges during peak periods, such as during the morning and evening peak periods, similar to taxis.

Mr Woo said this will help ensure fares - which start at $2.30 - are cheaper than those of Grab during these times, though he admitted prices could be slightly higher during periods of low demand.

He added MVL is currently in partnership talks with four or five car rental firms, although he declined to name the companies involved.

Tada also hopes to offer taxis on its platform, and has applied for the Land Transport Authority's third-party taxi booking service provider certificate.

It is also in talks with a taxi operator here to add its taxis to the Tada platform. Mr Woo declined to name the firm.

MVL currently has funding of about US$16 million (S$22 million), which the firm's general manager Jonathan Chua said will help sustain Tada's service despite its zero commission model.

It hopes to incentivise rides by rewarding drivers who drive safely. Drivers who receive good reviews of their rides will also receive points which can be converted into MVL coins, a form of cryptocurrency that will eventually be exchanged for services such as petrol or car maintenance for drivers.

MVL uses blockchain - the technology behind cryptocurrencies - to keep an accurate log of rides.

This data can in the future be sold to researchers or other transport operators, providing another source of revenue for MVL, said Mr Woo, who added this would only be done with the consent of both riders and drivers.

MVL hopes to expand to Vietnam by the end of this year (2018), as well as South Korea by next year (2019).

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.