SINGAPORE: Commuters looking to book private-hire car services can turn to a new platform, RydeX, from May 2.
Homegrown company Ryde announced this on Thursday (Apr 26), about two weeks after it said it was moving into the private-hire car service space as part of its expansion strategy. Ryde started off with the launch of carpooling services in 2015.
CEO of Ryde Technologies Terence Zou said during the launch of RydeX that it has already recruited 5,000 licensed private-hire car drivers, and it aims to boost those numbers to 15,000 in the next three months.
To set itself apart from Grab, which recently acquired Uber's Southeast Asian business, Ryde is a scheduled service that takes bookings in advance, from 10 minutes to seven days ahead of time.
It is also targeting middle- to long-distance trips.
Base fares for RydeX will start at S$8, and commuters pay S$0.60 subsequently for every kilometre, said Mr Zou. Surge pricing will be capped at S$100 for RydeX scheduled rides.
Commuters will be presented with a fixed fare upfront at the time of booking, which includes all surcharges and tolls like ERP. This is calculated based on historical data, and Ryde said the fixed fare will be honoured even in “exogenous circumstances” like jams and breakdowns.
Commuters can also request for a specific driver, especially if they have had a good experience with him or her. They can tip drivers through the app, and there will be no additional service fees on tips, according to a press release.
In addition, there is the premium RydeExec option, for commuters who prefer to travel in luxury cars. The base fare for this option starts at S$18.
Commenting on the company's strategy, Mr Zou said: “Medium to longer rides are more profitable. That would mean higher fares and more earnings for the drivers, and more commission for the platform.
"For the drivers, they have given feedback that they don’t like to take short trips because they are not very economical from the driver’s point of view. They take time to get (to the passenger) and (if) they go for a short trip, the time spent is not optimal."
Mr Zou added that the company has plans to offer on-demand rides in future. “We need to accrue a critical mass on our platform before we launch additional services," he said.