LTA warns Ryde its proposed courier service is illegal

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
Ryde Technologies founder and CEO Terence Zou addresses reporters on Thursday, 16 August 2018. PHOTO: Nicholas Yong/Yahoo News Singapore

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) warned Ryde Technologies on Wednesday (15 August) that the local start-up’s proposed courier service would violate rules banning public service vehicles such as private hire cars for the purpose.

At a press conference earlier Wednesday, Ryde said it will offer RydeSEND, an all-day on-demand courier service that promises to deliver small items – such as documents, parcels, or even packed meals – within 60 minutes.

To provide its courier services, Ryde said it will tap on its existing pool of 60,000 private-hire and car pool Ryde drivers, while also reaching out to the 140,000 motorcyclists here to expand its courier network.

In response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, an LTA spokesperson said, “We have warned Ryde that its proposed RydeSend service would contravene the regulations prohibiting Public Service Vehicles such as taxis and private hire cars from solely conveying goods. Drivers accepting such jobs may have their vocational licences revoked.

“Under our regulations, taxis and private-hire cars are meant to carry passengers for hire and reward, and cannot be used for the conveyance of goods.”

The LTA spokesperson added that Ryde did not consult the authority before launching its service.

Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to Ryde for its response to the LTA statement.

At the conference, Ryde’s founder and chief executive Terence Zou revealed that the delivery pricing for the service will be based on distance, time of day and will include toll charges incurred for a journey. There will be an added $6 door-to-door delivery fee and customers can make payment via the RydePay secure digital payment feature.

RydeSEND will offer its users live tracking of the items being delivered as well as $100 insurance coverage on the items.

The announcement of the service comes almost two weeks after Ryde announced it had obtained approval from the LTA to provide third-party taxi booking services.

The Class 1 certification for the services will allow it to dynamically fix fares for taxis through its RydeX feature, its private-hire service, to all taxi drivers by September, on top on street hail jobs, Ryde said on 2 August.

Zou revealed on Wednesday that since Ryde launched its RideX private-hire car booking service in May, the company has seen its user base increase sevenfold.

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Ride-hailing app Ryde gets LTA’s approval to provide third-party taxi booking service