Last year, we wrote about Schoolber, a carpooling service targeted at school children.
And recently, local ride-sharing app Ryde has jumped on the bandwagon to offer a similar service.
Called RydeSchool, it aims to help parent drivers cut costs through carpooling, and give them an alternative to school bus, which typically requires kids to leave home as early as 5.45am.
In other words, this new service is a saving grace for busy working parents, for they no longer need to deal with the bus’ early call time.
Instead, it lets parents sleep in a little more instead of waking up extra early to prepare and send their kids to school.
How Does It Work?
Launched three weeks ago, RydeSchool matches parents who live in the same neighbourhood, and those with children going to the same school.
They can view each other’s profiles, chat, and also negotiate the suggested fee for the carpool.
Ryde iterates that this service is not to help drivers make a profit but to help them cut down on costs such as petrol expenses.
In fact, its fees are similar to Ryde’s other carpooling services and are calculated based on distance.
According to The Straits Times, a 15km journey from Sengkang to Singapore Chinese Girls’ School in Dunearn Road will cost about $11. This works out to about $220 a month for a one-way trip.
This is pricier than a one-way journey on an 11-seater school bus, which apparently costs only $150 a month.
However, the “point-to-point” nature of carpooling means that children can leave home later and get more sleep.
In a way, parents need to fork out a wee bit more cash to trade off for this convenience.
Will This Service Gain Traction?
So far, about 40,000 drivers have signed up for the Ryde service.
Unlike Schoolber, which did not have enough parent drivers to meet the carpool requests, Ryde’s founder and CEO Terence Zou, said that he is confident that there will be sufficient parent drivers on its platform.
“We have a big network of peer-to-peer members already, so we are not starting from zero,” he told ST.
In any case, ride-sharing services such as UberPOOL and GrabShare are already popular among Singaporeans, so I foresee that this service will also gain traction among parents.
However, putting aside its heftier price tag (compared to a school bus), I think parents would be more concerned with the safety of RydeSchool.
Similar to Schoolber, some parents have raised concerns about whether there will be insurance that covers their children in cases of accidents.
With school buses, insurance is usually guaranteed and parents can be assured in knowing that they are covered lest something untoward happens.
Another issue that parents were concerned about is whether they could trust a parent-driver enough and put their children’s lives in the hands of a stranger.
At the end of the day, the safety of the child is of utmost importance to parents, and Ryde should address these concerns if they want to increase traction of its new service among parents.
Public Transport Children and Youth