GrabTaxi has just launched a carpooling app in Singapore

Hot on the heels of the UberX-like GrabCar, GrabTaxi has introduced GrabHitch, which lets people to share a ride (and split the cost) with others who are going the same way. So if you’ve got a car and are driving all the way out to the airport, for example, you could save on fuel by giving a ride to a couple friendly strangers. And if you’re in need of a ride, you can split the cost with everyone else in the car.

Here’s how to do it: passengers can book a ride seven days in advance to 15mins before leaving their destination. All they have to do is to key in their current location and destination. If there’s a match, the user will get a notification. Fares are calculated upfront, so you can refuse ride if the price is too expensive. Fares are paid using the credit card option in the app.

The upside of this means splitting fares between the passengers, and also making new friends. The downside would probably be meeting creeps, although there are some checks in place. You log in using Facebook, for example, and you can choose to travel with people of the same gender. Potential drivers also have to present their driver’s license, insurance and motor vehicle registration to GrabTaxi, of course. The entire ride will be tracked using GPS as well. 

It’s not the first app to roll out this feature as Ryde is the first Singapore start-up to launch this service. According to CEO Terence Zou, “This move just affirms thast what we have been doing is correct. Ryde focuses on the social aspects of carpooling, so we already have the competitive advantage. This will increase the market’s awareness of carpooling.”

He also adds that his service also focuses on the safety aspects of carpooling like having verification systems for both riders and drivers, as both passengers and drivers can upload images to their profiles and state their interests.

“Competition is always healthy and we believe in enhancing our product. More people are joining in the cause to make new friends, reduce their carbon footprint and reduce cost.” 

But this doesn’t mean that everyone will start sharing cabs with GrabHitch; drivers are only allowed to take two rides daily as its still in its beta phase. The phase will end Nov 30.