Well, it’s official: one player has officially come in to (try) grab a slice of the cake in the ride-hailing industry.
In a press conference today, Mr Terence Zhou, CEO and also the face of the company, announced the system and its launch date, which by the way is on 2 May 2018 (which means next Wednesday would be a whole new different world altogether, no?).
Here are ten facts about RydeX, the new ride-hailing app, and the industry in general.
What is Ryde?
For a start (lest you’ve not been on the Internet for months), Ryde is a local startup founded in 2014. It was the first carpooling company in Singapore before GrabHitch and the short-lived Uber Commute came into existence.
What has Ryde been doing with the competition?
A few months after Ryde came into the market, GrabHitch was launched. Ryde didn’t stayed in one business: it expanded into Hong Kong in 2016, and last year, they teamed up with ComfortDelGro to allow their users to book ComfortDelGo taxis. The goal was then to “taxi-pool” (think of it as GrabShare or UberPOOL, just that the sharing is with taxis instead), although now, that has not occurred.
After all, many things can happen in one year and well, one year has passed.
But remember this point, because we’ll be coming back to this soon.
Ryde expressed interest in the ride-hailing industry upon the announcement of Uber-Grab merger, but has planned for it for months
While everyone knows about RydeX only after they emerged as the first challenger to the ride-hailing industry upon the announcement of Uber-Grab marriage, they’ve actually planned to enter the market before the merger.
They have been doing the planning for months, and the announcement give them an “opportune time” to come in.
So, what’s RydeX?
RydeX, a name so creative that I can’t think of any other ride-hailing app using, works a tad different from what we’re used to. For us, it’s basically two taps and we’ll be waiting for the car to arrive – and how long it takes depends on how long a driver accepts our booking and how far he’s from my position.
However, RydeX requires you to book a ride at least 10 minutes beforehand, up to 7 days. It’s not exactly “on-demand”, but they said that once they’ve got 10,000 to 15,000 drivers, they’ll launch an “on-demand” service: one that we’re much more familiar with.
And so, how many drivers do they have now?
As of now, for the private-hire drivers, they’ve got 5,000 of them. For their carpooling system, they have well over 55,000 drivers, though these drivers are usually private drivers and not private-hire drivers.
In comparison, should all Uber drivers move over to Grab, Grab should have about 40,000 drivers.
And in another comparison, the number of taxi drivers last year was 25,699.
Yeah, you’ve read it right: there’re apparently more private hire drivers than taxi drivers. I’m not surprised; are you?
Money, money, money: how rich is Ryde to enter this market?
It started with a USD$1.5 million to build up the app back then when it got started, primarily from private investors and strategic angel.
In the latest reports, the CEO did not elaborate on any funding, but merely mentioned that they had secured “a significant round of funding”.
Just some background about being funded; if you read tech websites, getting funding, at least from what I see, seems to be a big goal for the founders. After all, it validates the company as a third party has put trust (and money) into the business, and it’ll have enough money to pay its bill.
So, how does RydeX survive?
It’s such a cutthroat industry that we’ve to address this even before its launch.
The CEO’s focus is on sustainable and profitability, and isn’t on bleeding money to gain market share. Unlike Uber and Grab, they wouldn’t have a car rental business, so they’re keeping the “business asset light”. They’re betting on their different approaches and new features to make it profitable.
Not sure about you, but when a business is out there to make real money, I tend to trust it more #justsaying
What’s different in RydeX?
Other than the advance booking, RydeX’s commission from drivers is at mere 10%, compared to the usual 20% by other ride-hailing firms. There’s a minimum fee of $8, and rates are at 60 cents per kilometre.
In comparison, there’s no minimum fee for Grab, and the per kilometre rate is at $0.50 per KM. In other words, if you look merely at the numbers, RydeX is slightly more expensive.
There’ll still be surge prices but that would be capped at $100.
One thing that is unknown is whether the driver would be able to see the rider’s destination – something that pisses off many riders due to drivers’ cherry-picking.
What are the new features of RydeX?
This is going to be interesting, so read on.
Firstly, you can tip your driver if you want to. Secondly, if you like that driver so much, you can choose him or her to be a preferred driver, and therefore allowing you to request for him or her privately.
Read on because the next point is going to be very RydeX on spot.
Ryde users can book 15,000 ComfortDelGo taxis
Remember the earlier point whereby I mentioned about Ryde expanding to allow taxi booking? Well, in other words, that’s a mini UberFLASH in the app: you can book normal private-hire rides or you can also choose to book a taxi.
But of course, if you’ve downloaded our app and read an app-exclusive article (wait, you haven’t downloaded yet? Download here now lah!), you’ll know that Go-Jek is allegedly in talks with ComfortDelGro.
I don’t know about you, but this is more exciting than watching paint dry.
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