Ryde plans entry into private-hire car market

Ryde CEO Terence Zou at the company's office in North Bridge Centre on March 28, 2018.
Ryde CEO Terence Zou at the company's office in North Bridge Centre on March 28, 2018.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Carpooling platform Ryde hopes to fill the space left by Uber's departure from the private-hire car sector here with the introduction of 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-going children and even pets, the firm's chief executive Terence Zou told The Straits Times on Wednesday (March 28).

Singapore-based Grab announced earlier this week that it was acquiring the American ride-hailing giant'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 to 30 per cent charged by Grab.

This will also translate into lower fares for commuters, he said, adding that Ryde is in the midst of finalising its pricing structure.

The firm is up against Grab, which is valued at an estimated $6 billion and operates across various cities in South-east Asia.

It was also reported on Wednesday that Indonesian ride-hailing operator Go-Jek plans to announce its expansion into another city in the region within the next few weeks. The city was not named.

However, Mr Zou is not worried about the competition.

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

The firm is focused on Singapore for now and has no plans to launch its services in other cities, he said.