SINGAPORE: Ryde has submitted a proposal to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to be part of trials for private hire car and taxi drivers to courier small items, with Grab – the largest private hire operator here – understood to be putting together its proposition as well.
On Monday (Sep 10), it was announced in Parliament that the LTA would be accepting proposals from taxi and private hire car operators for such trials.
LTA said it will work with operators to assess the feasibility of a trial and to ensure minimal impact on the availability of vehicles for commuters.
Addressing these concerns in its proposal, Ryde said it would restrict the number of courier jobs that drivers can take in a day to ensure there are enough drivers to pick up passengers.
Ryde CEO Terence Zou also stressed that the operator is not intending to function as a delivery or logistics company.
“We are not a traditional delivery or transportation company,” said Mr Zou.
“People do not use our platform to convey goods or samples but more to use our platform as a peer-to-peer social service. It’s very task-oriented, and even if there are any items transacted, they are documents, small gifts, and parcels.”
In August, the operator had announced plans to launch its RydeSEND service, utilising its 60,000-strong fleet of carpool, private hire and taxi drivers to make point-to-point deliveries.
But LTA warned the company that taxis and private hire cars are meant to carry passengers and cannot be used to convey goods without passengers.
Ryde then clarified that RydeSEND would not include taxis and private hire cars but only its carpool fleet.
The company said that since it launched its courier service on Sep 3, it had an average of 100 RydeSEND requests per day, and that 80 per cent of these were made during the off-peak period, from 10am to 5pm.
Associate Professor Walter Theseira, Head of the Master of Management (Urban Transportation) at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, said such services will help plug the gaps in demand for delivery services, such as during the festive season.
"I think that could be a really useful contribution, because there is no point having such a large logistics fleet in Singapore to satisfy only the surges in demand,” he said.