Ryde hopes to fill void left by Uber's exit

Ryde's CEO Terence Zou says drivers are already signing up with the service.
Ryde's CEO Terence Zou says drivers are already signing up with the service.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Carpooling firm lures drivers by taking lower cut of each fare

Carpooling platform Ryde hopes to fill the space left by Uber's departure by introducing its own private-hire service, RydeX.

A move into the private-hire car sector is a "natural extension" of Ryde's offerings, which include carpooling for school children and even pets, the firm's chief executive Terence Zou told The Straits Times yesterday.

Commuters can also book ComfortDelGro taxis through the Ryde app.

Singapore-based Grab announced earlier this week that it was acquiring Uber's business in South-east Asia.

Mr Zou said although Ryde had been planning to enter the private-hire car industry for some time, Uber's departure provided the "opportune moment" to announce it.

He added that drivers are already signing up with the service. The firm expects to have 5,000 drivers when RydeX launches within the next few weeks.

The firm hopes to lure drivers by taking only 10 per cent of each fare, compared to the 20-30 per cent charged by Grab.

WIN-WIN SITUATION

Competition is a good thing. I think it will bring more choice to consumers and it will enable us to improve our products.

MR TERENCE ZOU, Ryde's chief executive, on Indonesian ride-hailing operator Go-Jek's regional expansion plans.


TOUGH SLOG

Competing in this industry takes more than an app and an idea.

MR WALTER THESEIRA, Singapore University of Social Sciences transport economist, on firms entering the private-hire car sector.

This will also translate into lower fares for commuters, he said.

Ryde is in the midst of finalising its pricing structure, which will include dynamic pricing, where fares fluctuate based on demand.

Mr Zou stressed that fares will be "transparent, fair and equitable".

The firm is up against Grab, which is valued at an estimated $6 billion and operates in eight South-east Asian countries.

It was also reported yesterday that Indonesian ride-hailing operator Go-Jek plans to announce its expansion into another South-east Asian country within the next few weeks, and into three other countries in the region by the middle of this year.

However, Mr Zou is not worried about the competition.

"Competition is a good thing. I think it will bring more choice to consumers and it will enable us to improve our products," he said, adding that Ryde's three years of experience have given it insight into the transport sector.

 

He said Ryde had raised a "significant amount" in its latest round of funding, though he declined to disclose the figure.

"As we expand our business, we will raise more money and take the fight to another level."

However, observers say the firm may face a tough fight ahead.

Firms entering the private-hire car sector need both "financial muscle" and experience to compete against an established player like Grab, said Singapore University of Social Sciences transport economist Walter Theseira.

"Competing in this industry takes more than an app and an idea," he added.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'Ryde hopes to fill void left by Uber's exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe