Uber Rival GrabTaxi Launches GrabHitch Carpooling Service in Singapore

By Money Times

Nov 13, 2015 08:11 AM EST

After enjoying successful services in several Asian countries, GrabTaxi introduced a carpooling service in Singapore. The service is available for testing on Wednesday in the country. Drivers participating in GrabHitch must provide elligible document and verification checks.

Singapore is one of the most expensive place to own a car and GrabHitch sees an opening to benefit both car owners and passengers to lessen each cost. According to Channel News Asia, drivers can offset the cost of their journey while passengers pay half the cost of a taxi. Singapore regulation regarding carpooling service was issued this year. It does not allow carpooling driver to accept payment for profit, but only to cover riding expenses.

GrabTaxi is a transportation e-hailing application for smartphone users founded in 2012 by Anthony Tan, a son of Malaysian automotive tycoon. Started in Malaysia, its service then expanded to Philippines in 2013, and across Southeast Asia from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Vietnam and Indonesia, GrabTaxi also introduced motorcycle hailing service, GrabBike. Currently,more than 3 milllion mobile application users downloaded the application. Beside GrabTaxi and GrabBike, other services provided are GrabCar, GrabCar+ and the latest one is GrabHitch as its first service for peer-to-peer car-hailing.

Regarding its new service, GrabTaxi co-founder Tan Hoi Ling as quoted by Reuter said "GrabHitch hits the sweet spot for people who want a door-to-door transport service, but prefer not to pay a premium above public train or bus fares," As of launching, GrabHitch will be available to all consumers in Singapore by the end of 2015. 

On the other hand, Tech Crunch considered the launching of GrabHitch as an interesting one since GrabTaxi has made its mark, and rivaled Uber in Southeast Asia. It is because from the beginning of its founding, GrabTaxi started its business  and focuses predominantly on licensed taxi rides. Taxi drivers all across Southeast Asia have already  enjoyed the benefit of GrabTaxi to ease them finding passengers. A step into peer-to-peer service might raise the risk of upsetting taxi drivers who rely on GrabTaxi. 

GrabHitch will be launched its beta signup for driver until the end of this month. Upon registration, driver must provide documentation, driving licence, motor vehicle registration and insurance. In order to ensure passenger safety, there will be further verification checks for traffic offences record, as well. However, that may not solve the matter of passenger safety. Especially, with cases in India and China of Uber driver who robbed and sexually assaulted passenger. 

With a successful service of taxi hailing service across Southeast Asia, GrabTaxi move further with carpooling service. Providing peer-to-peer car hailing service similar to Uber. GrabTaxi require its potential driver to submit eligible documents in order to minimize risk to passenger safety.  Fares will be paid using GrabPay, cashless credit card payment option of GrabTaxi.

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