Kardi and Ryde: New Kids on the Block

“When people have no choice, life is almost unbearable ...” – Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of Choice.

Well, life has been unbearable for me these days. With the acquisition of Uber by Grab in March, my consumer choice is more limited than before. I don’t have a choice between Uber and Grab. What’s worse is that Grab offers fewer and lesser attractive promo codes now than before.

When Uber ended its ride-hailing services this year, many Singaporeans were probably worried that the acquisition would result in monopolistic prices. Grab could capitalize on its monopolistic potential to charge a higher price as it becomes the sole major player in the ride-hailing market.
 
Credit: MoneyDigest.sg

But every cloud has a silver lining. A gang of newcomers has entered, if not planning to enter, to fill the space in the ride-hailing party left by Uber. This may be a good news for us. We can enjoy the benefits of market competition as the newcomers vie for market share with attractive promo codes.

This month, a local start-up Kardi, founded by Ashwin Selambram, joined the party as the newest ride-hailing player. It offers three kinds of rides, namely Economy, Premium and Executive. Although it has similar functions as Uber and Grab, Kardi positions as the “smartest way to get around. “One tap and a car comes directly to you.”
 
Credit: SG Asia City

So I downloaded Kardi on my phone to give it a “tap”. Its interface is similar to Uber’s. Riders just have to key in the address of their destination, and select “Get Fare”. If they are happy with the fare shown, they then select “ride now” and wait for a car. The app was easy to understand and has an intuitive user interface.
 
Credit: Vulcan Post

I tried using Kardi on three separate occasions. Last week, I tried to get a ride from Tanglin at 11 am and Woodlands at 2 pm. However, I did not manage to get a ride after waiting for 15 mins on both occasions. This morning, I tried again from Bukit Panjang at 8 am. I waited for 30 minutes, but Kardi still did not manage to find a driver. They say third time's the charm, but definitely not between Kardi and me. Given that Kardi had just launched earlier this month, it’s not surprising that Kardi is probably lacking drivers. Hopefully, I will get lucky on my fourth time.
 
Credit: Nikkei Asian Review

Besides Kardi, RYDE is also a new player in the ride-hailing market. It started off as a local carpooling social network in 2015, allowing drivers to earn quick money by picking up passengers who are heading in the same direction. It provides several carpooling options. RydePOOL (Per Pax) is similar to UberPOOL, where the driver picks you and other passengers who are travelling in the same direction. However, RydePOOL (Per Pax) does not allow you to bring a friend along on the trip. For RydePOOL (Per Trip), it brings you straight to your destination without fetching other passengers. This option is similar to UberX and JustGrab.
 
Credit: Great Deals Singapore

With Uber’s exit from the ride-hailing market, RYDE was quick to seize the opportunity. In May 2018, RYDE launched its own private-hire service, RydeX. It also functions the same way as UberX and JustGrab, where you hire a car to bring you to your destination. This may seem confusing to a rider because RydeX and RydePOOL (Per Trip) seem to serve the same function.

The main difference between Ryde and other ride-hailing apps is that Ryde requires you to set the timing that you want the driver to arrive. In other words, you have to book in advance and wait for a driver to accept the booking. You can book up to one week in advance or 10 minutes before.

Since I had trouble getting a ride with Kardi this morning, I tried RYDE. As RydePOOL (Per Trip) provided a cheaper fare, I selected that option for my ride from Bukit Panjang to Serangoon. I booked it 10 minutes in advance, and within a few minutes, I secured a ride! That trip cost me $18, which is slightly more expensive than JustGrab.
 
Credit: Singapore Business Review

A unique feature of Ryde is the booking of taxi services, such as Comfort and CityCab. You can choose between paying a flat fare and a metered fare. This allows you to compare the prices across Ryde and other taxi services easily. So, you don’t have to worry about missing out on a better alternative.

If you are in a rush, Ryde gives you the option to increase your fares to entice drivers to pick your booking over others. There are also Ryde games within the app to entertain you in case you get bored during your journey!

A drawback of Ryde is that it offers too many services. Beside RydeX and RydePOOL, it has RydePet, RydeSchool, and RydeWork. This may be too confusing for first-time users to get onboard. With several ride options and a booking system, the app’s interface does not seem as intuitive as Kardi’s.
 
Credit: Kr-ASIA

Besides Kardi and Ryde, a much stronger competitor, Go-Jek, awaits Grab. In May, Go-Jek announced its plans to enter Singapore in the next few months. With a strong backing from affluent investors, such as Temasek Holdings, Google and Tencent Holdings, Go-Jek garnered US$1.5 billion in a fund-raising round. This will place Go-Jek in a tight competition with Grab, which received US$1 billion investment from Toyota on Monday.

With a fierce battle brewing in this region, riders, like me, can sit back and hope for more attractive promo codes released.
 
 

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