Ryde to launch new private-hire car service in Singapore
SINGAPORE: Homegrown carpooling app Ryde announced it will be launching RydeX, its new private-hire car service, as part of its growth expansion strategy.
The announcement on Wednesday (Mar 28) comes hot on the heels of Grab's takeover of Uber's Southeast Asian business, which includes operations in Singapore.
Ryde said it has already started accepting sign-ups of drivers via the Ryde app, and aim to have 5,000 full-time drivers. It currently has a combined fleet of more than 55,000 drivers - both private cars and taxis - that serve 300,000 passengers a day.
“Offering private-hire car services would complete our mobility suite to serve our users better," said founder and CEO of Ryde Technologies Terence Zou.
“We’ve always been planning to enter into the private hire space to complete our mobility suite, but right now I think is also an opportune time, I think the market needs more competition and that’s where we can provide consumers and drivers with an alternative platform and way to get around,” he said.
He added the move is a "natural extension" of the business, and not a response to Uber exiting the marketing here.
RydeX, which is an on-demand ride-hailing service, promises to be competitive.
In a press release, the company said the driver’s commission rate will be lowered to 10 per cent, adding the savings will be passed on to commuters in the form of lower fares and to drivers in the form of higher earnings.
“We have been receiving positive feedback to launch RydeX as a new private-hire service," said Mr Zou
"We hope to provide commuters a cheaper alternative to get around and drivers a way to make a decent living. Ultimately, our mission is to make a positive social impact in people’s lives."
But one expert Channel NewsAsia spoke to said Ryde will need to work hard to differentiate itself.
Dr Park Byung Joon from the Singapore University of Social Sciences said: “They will have great difficulty in terms of the driver availability, because Grab has far more vehicles under them. So if they are simply seen as another app, then of course Singaporeans will not use them that well, so it really depends on what kind of service they can provide for commuters.”
Dr Park added that Grab’s takeover of Uber does little to alter the saturation of the private hire car market here, and he believes Ryde would have entered the market regardless.
Mr Zou said that being the smaller player has its advantages.
“Having run our carpooling business for close to three years, we also understand what the riders and the drivers want, what features they would like, what are the things that work for them, so we have been collating feedback all this while, and definitely putting the consumer first, listening to what they want, giving them a good fare option, that would be our core focus.”
yeah. checking out ryde now
yeah. still down.
imagine what will happen when there is only Grab...............
Ride-hailing app Grab experienced an outage on Friday (April 6) afternoon, the second time in a week.
An error message was seen on the app when TODAY tried to log on at 12.30pm.
It said: "Due to a technical issue, you may not be able to use the Grab app as per normal. We are working hard to fix the issue and will be back to serve you as soon as we can," Grab.
Local users of the Uber app can continue using it until April 15, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said on Friday (April 6) as it continued its investigation into the merger between the US ride-hailing pioneer and Grab, its Singapore-based rival.
Uber’s app was initially due to be shut here on April 8, as part of changes triggered by Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s South-east Asia operations. However, news of the deal prompted the commission to launch an investigation, as well as to issue a set of proposed interim directives to both companies to “preserve and/or restore competition and market conditions”.
This meant that both parties would have to maintain their pre-transaction pricing, pricing policies and product options for their services in Singapore. Under the proposed directives, Grab and Uber would not be able to obtain any confidential information from the other party, including information related to pricing, formulas, customers and drivers, said the commission. Grab would also ensure that Uber drivers joining Grab’s ride-hailing platform of their own accord are not subject to any exclusivity clauses, lock-in periods and/or termination fees.
The commission said on Friday that both companies had agreed to extend the deadline for the shutdown of Uber’s app by one week in order to facilitate the investigation of the merger. The extension is limited to the Singapore market, according to a Grab spokesperson.
In its statement, the CCCS also disclosed that both ride-hailing companies had written to the commission to offer alternatives to the interim arrangement introduced by the commission. TODAY understands that Uber and Grab submitted separate proposals.
The CCCS said it was reviewing the proposals, but gave no details on what they entailed. Asked how long its investigation would take, the commission told TODAY that it would depend on the “facts and circumstances of the case”, and the “level of co-operation” by Uber, Grab and relevant third-parties.
“CCCS is aware of the need to expedite investigations in this case,” the commission added.
Grab declined to discuss the proposals, saying that they were still being reviewed by the commission. Uber declined to comment and said TODAY’s queries should be referred to Grab.
Grab’s spokeperson expressed optimism that the alternative interim measures submitted to the commission would “ease concerns around the contestability of the dynamic point-to-point transport market”. The firm also said its alternative proposals will allow it to “run a competitive business and remain agile and flexible so that we can innovate and deliver better services.”
“We hope the CCCS will complete its review in an expeditious manner, so that we can continue competing with incumbent transport companies and with new entrants,” the spokesperson added.
News of the extension of the Uber app came hours after Grab’s version suffered its second outage in a week.
Grab’s ride-hailing app was down around lunchtime on Friday, with an error message warning users that the service was experiencing a “technical issue”. Regular services resumed around 12.40pm.
Grab suffered a more extensive outage on Tuesday night that affected its customers and drivers across several South-east Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The company blamed its “underlying infrastructure” for the outage, but did not give specific details.
The merger between Grab and Uber has stalled again, as the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), which is still investigating the deal, ordered a set of enhanced interim measures to take immediate effect on Friday (April 13).
These measures, which are meant to keep the ride-hailing market “open and contestable”, also include those to further protect drivers.
For instance, apart from making sure that Uber or new drivers who are joining Grab’s platform of their own accord are not subject to any exclusivity obligations, lock-in periods and/or termination fees, Grab also has to ensure that these drivers are not penalised, directly or indirectly, as a result.
A new directive was also placed addressing drivers who rent vehicles from Uber’s vehicle rental subsidiary Lion City Rentals.
Grab and Uber must ensure that these drivers will be free to drive for any ride-hailing platform and shall not be subject to any hindrance such as higher rental rates and the lack of insurance coverage that will limit the drivers’ ability to drive for any platform. Both firms are expected to inform drivers of this through an email.
They also have to clearly communicate through an email to drivers and riders in Singapore who were on the Uber platform that migration to the Grab platform is purely optional.
This expanded set of measures come on the back of an earlier one proposed on March 30, which stipulated that to “preserve and/or restore competition and market conditions”, both ride-hailing firms would have to maintain their pre-transaction pricing, pricing policies and product options for their services in Singapore. They were also told not to obtain any confidential information from each other, including information related to pricing, formulas, customers and drivers.
In its statement on Friday, the CCCS also said that the Uber mobile application in Singapore should continue to run until May 7, “with necessary customer support to handle contractual and payment issues”.
This is the second time the shutdown of the app has been put off, the first being on April 6. The app was due to stop running on April 8, after Grab announced its takeover of Uber’s South-east Asian operations on March 26.
News of the deal prompted the CCCS to launch an investigation on March 27, into what it described as an “unnotified transaction” between the two companies.
The competition watchdog said on Friday that the latest interim measures will stay in effect until its investigation into the merger is completed, and/or until any competition concerns that may arise from the deal are resolved, or until it revokes them due to “material changes in market conditions”. It did not give a date for when its investigations will be done.
During this time, as part of the added measures, Grab and Uber have to maintain their pricing and product options for riders and drivers, including the levels of base fares, surge factor and driver commission rates — as they were before the sale.
Grab will also not be able to take over operational data such as trip history data from Uber to enhance its market position, though the CCCS noted that Grab will be able to receive personal data of drivers, riders and merchants who have opted to move from Uber to the Grab platform.
Introduced on Friday is also an order for Grab to stop its exclusivity arrangements with all taxi fleets in Singapore. This is provided that there are no exclusivity arrangements between any taxi fleet and any third-party ride-hailing platform in Singapore other than Grab, and that all taxi operators permit their respective taxi drivers to drive for any third-party ride-hailing platform for metered and fixed fare jobs.
To see that all parties comply with the latest interim measures, the CCCS said that an independent monitoring trustee shall be appointed for this.
‘WORK WITHIN SET CONSTRAINTS’
In response to the announcement, Grab said that it will “work within the set constraints”, but pointed out that the review by the commission will hopefully take into account “a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services”.
Mr Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore, also voiced concern over the possible “unintended effects of the interim measures”, that they should not be “hampering competition and restricting businesses that have already been investing in the country over the years”.
While the company recognised CCCS’ commitment to preserving competition, Mr Lim said that “all companies — no matter big or small, digital or traditional — are capable of innovation in a free market”.
“Grab entered Singapore five years ago with minimal resources and the goal of enabling all taxi drivers to earn a better living using our platform,” he said.
“We’re proud to be headquartered in Singapore, where the country’s free market economy and policies enable businesses to compete and innovate vigorously to solve customer needs. We trust the Government will continue to be pro-business in providing a path for start-ups to flourish and become sustainable businesses.”
Mr Lim also said that the company will continue to focus on building better products to compete, ensuring fairness for passengers and drivers, and to cultivate the tech talent pool here through its regional research and development centre in Singapore.
As for its alliance with taxi operators, Grab is “fully supportive” of extending its platform to all taxi drivers, including ComfortDelGro drivers who are still constrained from picking up JustGrab jobs.
TODAY understands that that Grab has no plans to stop its partnership with taxi operators such as Trans-cab, HDT Taxi, Premier Taxi, Prime Taxi, and SMRT Taxi.
Separately on Friday, the Land Transport Authority expressed its support for the interim measures issued by the CCCS. “In particular, we note that the measures pertaining to the removal of exclusivity obligations and impediments to market contestability will further promote market competition in the point-to-point (P2P) transport sector.”
The authority is reviewing the broader regulatory framework for this sector, including studying how to structure the sector and license private-hire car booking service operators.
“This is to ensure the sector remains open and contestable and no single operator dominates the market to the detriment of commuters and drivers. Where necessary, we will work with CCCS, taxi companies, and private-hire car booking service operators to operationalise CCCS’s interim measures directions requirements,” it added.
Singapore’s competition watchdog on Friday (13 April) outlined a number of interim measures as it continued investigation into ride-hailing firm Grab’s deal to buy rival Uber Technologies’ business in Southeast Asia.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the measures include preventing Grab to take over operational data from Uber to enhance its market position, adding that Uber would continue to operate in Singapore until May 7 to smoothen the transition.
The statement by CCCS comes after it had previously given an extension of Uber’s business to 15 April.
Other measures include ensuring that drivers are not subjected to “exclusivity agreements” and making sure the ride-hailing firms maintain their pre-merger pricing and commission levels.
Head of Grab Singapore Lim Kell Jay said, “We trust that the CCCS’ review takes into account a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services. The interim measures should not have the unintended effect of hampering competition and restricting businesses that have already been investing in the country over the years.”
He added that the company has noted the CCCS’ objective of giving drivers choice, and “are fully supportive of extending our platform to all taxi drivers, including ComfortDelGro drivers who are still constrained from picking up JustGrab jobs”.
“We will work within the set constraints and continue to focus on building better products to compete, ensuring fairness for passengers and drivers, and cultivating the local tech talent pool through our regional R&D centre in Singapore,” said Lim.
In a separate statement, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it supports the interim measures issued by CCCS to Grab and Uber.
“LTA is in the process of reviewing the broader regulatory framework for the P2P (point-to-point) sector, including studying how to structure the sector and license private hire car (PHC) booking service operators. This is to ensure the sector remains open and contestable and no single operator dominates the market to the detriment of commuters and drivers,” said the LTA. – WITH REUTERS
All primary, secondary and tertiary school students and staff in Singapore can soon hop on GrabShuttle to get to their schools, said local ride-hailing firm Grab on Friday (20 April).
Ranging from $130 per month for one-way trips on a large bus to $420 per month for two-way trips in a taxi, the new service will allow for “more personalised and flexible transport options” as users can customise and crowdsource desired routes by submitting requests to the GrabShuttle webpage, said Grab.
Users must pay upfront for the first two months. The service also follows a nine-month payment schedule, compared to conventional shuttle services that require users to pay for the whole year.
“On top of regular 13- and 23-seater GrabShuttle vehicles, parents and staff can also opt for 4-seater taxis with minimal drop-off and pick-up points,” added the ride-hailing firm.
According to Grab, those who opt for the taxi service will only have three to four drop-off points. They also have the flexibility to customise drop-off points for different days, which will allow students to alight at an alternative destination without any additional charges.
“By aggregating pick-up and drop-off points across multiple schools and using tech to find the best matches, students and staff could save up to 50 per cent travelling time, as compared to traditional school bus services and public transport,” said Grab.
The ride-hailing firm added that parents will be able to track routes in real-time via the GrabShuttle app and directly contact the driver when needed.
“Route privacy also ensures that only parents or guardians of verified students are provided with the relevant information for route tracking, ensuring the safety and security of all students using the service,” said Grab.
Drivers of this new service will also “go through rounds of screening and be trained to handle younger children” and “all vehicles will be equipped with seat belts and are covered under commercial insurance”.
“Since we launched GrabShuttle over a year ago, we have had parents and teachers requesting for routes to and from schools, as well as a more personalised service,” said Alvin Wee, Head of GrabShuttle Singapore. “By listening to consumer demand and leveraging data analytics to design the most efficient routes, children can get more sleep each day, while allowing parents to save time in their daily morning routine.”
The introduction of shuttle services for students marks the third expansion to GrabShuttle, following the launch of GrabShuttle and GrabShuttle Plus last year.
Last Friday, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore outlined a number of interim measures as it continued investigations into ride-hailing firm Grab’s deal to buy rival Uber Technologies’ business in Southeast Asia.
The competition watchdog the measures include preventing Grab to take over operational data from Uber to enhance its market position, adding that Uber would continue to operate in Singapore until 7 May to smoothen the transition.
ComfortDelGro, Singapore's largest taxi operator, has held talks with Go-Jek about a potential partnership that could replace its annulled agreement with Uber.
Uber strike a major deal when it tied up with Comfort last December, but that fell apart last month when the U.S. firm agreed to sell its Southeast Asia business to Grab and exit the region entirely. Go-Jek is already looking to step into the void by expanding its Indonesia-based service into Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, but now a source tells TechCrunch that the ambitious startup has held early-stage talks with Comfort that could see it enter Singapore as ride-hailing partner for its 15,000 drivers.
Comfort did not reply to a request for comment. A Go-Jek spokesperson said the company "can't comment on rumor and speculation."
Go-Jek is valued at more than $4.5 billion and it has raised over $2 billion from investors that include Google, Tencent, JD.com, Allianz and Meituan Dianping. The company started life as a motorbike taxi-hailing app, but it has since expanded into four-wheeled taxis, services on-demand and payments in Indonesia where it is considered the market leader.
The company has always harbored a desire to expand across Southeast Asia and, after Uber's exit, it is seizing an opportunity. Moves into Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines -- which sources told TechCrunch are underway with local teams already hired -- make sense since these are markets where Go-Jek can roll out its flagship bike service and potentially others, but Singapore is trickier since motorbike taxis are outlawed.
Go-Jek opened a Singapore office for business development last year, and it believes that there is demand for its services there. Rather than launching from scratch -- which a host of smaller services including Ryde and India's Jugnoo are planning -- it is eying a tie-up with Comfort that would give it access to its fleet.
There may be demand driver-side, too. Comfort told its drivers to delete Uber in the wake of the merger deal with Grab, but many of the fleet are reportedly uneasy about Grabbeing their only ride-hailing option. That's an angle that Go-Jek could leverage in its talks with Comfort, which are initially exploratory in nature, we understand.
RydeX (beta) is out
more asspensive than uber and grab hohoho
lets see if the prices will be more competitive when it has settled in
PM Lee on Grab-Uber deal: S'pore wants to ensure competition, make sure commuters have choices and taxi drivers not locked in http://str.sg/oGj2