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Ryde to launch private-car hire service RydeX on May 2

HOMEGROWN ridehailing player Ryde will launch its private-hire car service RydeX on May 2.

For a start, RydeX will comprise two options. The first is RydeX Scheduled, which lets commuters book a ride from 10 minutes to 7 days in advance. The second is RydeEXEC, which lets commuters request luxury cars.

Ryde chief Terence Zou told reporters on Thursday that Ryde will launch an "on-demand" ridehailing service once it has attained a critical mass of 10,000 to 15,000 private-hire car drivers.

The startup, which began as a carpooling service in 2015, has amassed over 5,000 private-hire cars on its platform to-date, said Mr Zou.

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Through a "technical integration" with ComfortDelGro, commuters can also book a ride from over 15,000 ComfortDelGro taxis through the Ryde app.

RydeX private-hire car fares will be about 5 per cent lower than the market rate, and start from a base fare of S$8, said Mr Zou. On average, rides will be priced at 60 Singapore cents per kilometre.

Ryde will charge a 10 per cent commission on drivers. While this is about 10 per cent lower than what most other players currently charge, it is "not low" given the size of the ridehailing market in Singapore, which sees over 1 million rides daily with each trip costing S$15 on average, Mr Zou said.

Upon launch, Ryde will offer post-trip tipping, which is believed to be a unique feature in Singapore. Users can tip drivers through the app; Ryde will not charge additional service fees on tips.

Mr Zou said: "The purpose is to create a great ride experience for both drivers and commuters."

Another unique feature is the ability for commuters to request a specific driver for their ride, or block a driver that they do not like.

When asked by The Business Times if Ryde plans to expand into non-mobility spaces, Mr Zou said that the company is innovating in the financial services space. For instance, its digital wallet RydePay will allow commuters to pay for rides through the app and receive cashback.