15 Jan Singapore carpooling app RYDE expanding to Hong Kong
Aside from launching the third version of its carpooling mobile app, RYDE also announced today that it has reached 20,000 members – both drivers and riders.
RYDE Founder and CEO Terence Zou is aiming to grow this figure further as he stated that the company would be taking its app to Hong Kong in the second quarter of 2016.
Public transport disruptions such as train breakdowns, the company said, have contributed to the increased usage of RYDE’s carpooling network. RYDE’s requests increased eight times on November 25 last year when a power fault on the North-South line left approximately 70,000 commuters stranded, according to the company.
“Data analytics is a very critical tool we employ to give us the competitive edge in our operations. We analyse our data and identify patterns to help us make better business decisions. For example, we know that the average distance carpooled in 2015 was 14.6 km,” said Terence Zou, Founder and CEO of RYDE Technologies.
RYDE claims the latest upgrade to its app enhances information flow between members. The app allows riders to make both advance and on-demand requests while drivers can also post ride offers. The app’s real-time capability enables members to see the most relevant requests at any point in time.
RYDE verifies members by requiring them to submit photo IDs. Members also review each other after every trip. Any member with an average rating of below four stars will be suspended for a month. These mechanisms are to enhance the reliability of members.
“[O]ur focus is on the social aspects of carpooling. We are not a taxi company and we do not collect money on our platform. Riders pay drivers directly to split the costs. Members only need to pay an annual subscription fee to join the network,” said Zou.
RYDE adopts a subscription model where members pay S$30 (US$20.84) a year to use the app. The price of a ride cannot be more than the cost of the ride under Singapore regulations. The price is meant to defray the cost of the ride and not for profit.
In November 2015, the Singapore startup revealed that it had 10,000 members, which means that its growth has doubled in the span of over two months. Then, it also announced its raising of S$1.5 million (US$1.04 million) — the company says it has since raised an extra S$500,000 to bring the total to date to S$2 million — in seed funding.
Besides RYDE, GrabTaxi is one other company known to have plans to push out a carpooling service in Singapore. Named GrabHitch, the feature on the GrabTaxi app is in its beta phase and is awaiting launch.