GRAB has launched a new service in Malaysia and the Philippines that will let passengers going in the same direction share a ride, called GrabShare.
The service helps riders save money, with fares lowered by 30 percent, and also aims to help drivers clock in more trips to earn more income and maximize their time.
There can only be two bookings on any one GrabShare trip to make sure riders and drivers both don’t spend too much time waiting to get to their destinations.
Sean Goh, Grab Malaysia’s Country Head, said in a statement: “Grab is all about leveraging big data to develop tailored solutions for solving local transport challenges to outserve our customers.
“GrabShare gets people to their destinations with a more pocket-friendly fare, while minimizing the need for more cars on our roads by tapping on our pool of commercial GrabCar Economy drivers.
“We are confident GrabShare will enable us to meet Malaysia’s growing passenger demand for ride-hailing especially to cater to first-and-last mile while helping our drivers earn more.”
Getting strangers to share a cab might prove a bit of a challenge to start with, but Goh said he is confident that the barrier can be broken as people get more used to the idea.
However, sharing a cab with a stranger is one thing, but the risk goes up tenfold for women who may be worried about getting into a car with a stranger.
Goh said: “The more feedback we get regarding this kind of concern, the better we can make this service. This issue will be something Grab will certainly look into.”
Grab has already launched GrabShare in Singapore, clocking in over two million rides in the past two months. In a statement, the company said driver monthly incomes have increased 10 percent on average.
In Singapore, Grab goes head to head with Uber on the carpooling service. Uber has UberPool in the country.
The service uses a more refined algorithm to ensure it matches passengers on a similar route, said GrabShare’s main software engineer, Dominic Widdows. “This is critical for Grab as each of our cities have unique passenger travel patterns and the app is about to customize how bookings are efficiently matched.”
This story first appeared on Tech Wire Asia.