A survey has found that Malaysians are among the worst in the world when it comes to carpooling.
The survey conducted by the Kuala Lumpur-based Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) has revealed that a staggering 87.3 per cent of Klang Valley residents opt to travel alone in their vehicles.
When Singapore carpooling app 'Ryde' made its way across the Causeway into Malaysia in October, one question arises: how well will the concept be accepted here?
“'Ryde' is not just a carpooling app – we are looking to build a community that creates a more conducive carpooling environment for Malaysians,” says Terence Zou, founder and CEO of Ryde.
“Our aim is to educate the Malaysian community on the benefits of carpooling to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly daily transportation option,” he adds.
'Ryde' works on matchmaking model - it matches drivers on a specific route with commuters hoping to hitch a ride, who already meant to head similar routes.
Given the fact that there is no such thing as a free ride, 'Ryde' fares are based on a not-for-profit model.
The app will recommend an amount to charge that will help cover the driver’s costs for the trip, taking into account distance travel, petrol, toll and car depreciation costs.
'Ryde' also offers zero commission fares to drivers, which means that the driver will be able to pocket 100 percent of his fares to compensate for his driving costs.
“We have more than half a million downloads so far. In Singapore, we have about 25,000 registered drivers. That’s about 5 percent of the private car drivers that have signed up on our platform. We have a close to 200,000 riders who are actively using our app,” says Zou.
'Ryde' is now available in four cities - Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Sydney.
“With the increasing levels of vehicular emissions, congestion on roads, and the high cost of owning a car, 'Ryde' is presenting carpooling as an economical and sustainable mode of transport to all Malaysians.”
“Rather than making that daily commute to and from work or school alone in peak hour traffic jams, carpooling provides the opportunity to ride with someone going in the same direction.
“Not only will this help to ease road congestion, reduce your carbon footprint, and help save on commuting costs, it will also expand your network and the potential to make new friends.”
Will 'Ryde' - focused solely on carpooling - take off in Malaysia?
Grab is already offering on-demand carpool sharing service called GrabShare.
Local carpooling and ride sharing platform Droupr resumed services after facing technical issues in the past few months, and is focused more on long-distance carpooling, particularly during the Hari Raya ‘balik kampung’ exodus.
At the risk of sounding petty, the carpooling concept is not new in Malaysia but has never caught on among commuters.
In 2017, German-based Wunder entered Malaysia with the same hope ‘to set up carpooling communities’ in Malaysia. (A search on App Store and Google Play store indicate the app is no longer available for download in Malaysia)
One feature that makes 'Ryde' different to Grab is its RydePET service where commuters can bring common household pets like dogs, cats, rabbits, turles and even fish (in bowls or plastic bags, of course), on the ride.
We speak with Ryde’s Terence Zou to find out how he plans to build the carpooling culture in Malaysia and expand the service to other cities such as Johor Bahru, Malacca and Penang.