Tuesday 7 July, 2020

New ridesharing service promises reliability in Central, South

Pictured: CEO of Zip Ride, Duane Hinkson. Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.

Pictured: CEO of Zip Ride, Duane Hinkson. Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.

Since the departure of US-based ridesharing service Uber over a year ago, the demand for ridesharing services has grown in Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite the availability of at least seven other ridesharing services locally, Zip Ride, a product of technology-based services company Blue Guruz, promises to offer a superior level of comfort, convenience and connectivity to travellers.

The ambitious new service also hopes to provide reliable transportation solutions to residents in the underserved areas of Central and South Trinidad.

Just how does Zip Ride expect to get drivers interested in signing on in a seemingly saturated market?

Describing the subscription-based model as the “Netflix” for rideshare, Chief Executive Officer Duane Hinkson told Loop News the service’s greater value proposition was sure to attract drivers.

He explained that this model gives drivers more opportunities to increase their earnings as they would only have to pay a fair, flat monthly fee to the company.

Talks have been ongoing with drivers in Central and South Trinidad and the response thus far has been promising, he said.

“The structure is one for drivers to be more available. Because the more available you are, the more rides, you will get, and the more you earn.”

“If you know you can do this full-time and the cost for doing this is one low, flat fee, then there is a greater incentive for you to make yourself available to do that. It really becomes an option.”

He said Zip Ride could also provide employment for those within the South and Central areas who may have found themselves out of a job due to retrenchment at companies like Petrotrin.

While there is currently no date set for its launch, Hinkson is hopeful that riders will respond positively with a demand for the service when it comes on stream.

He anticipates high volume bookings with the upcoming Christmas and Carnival periods.

Operations Manager David Wears said customer feedback will play an integral role in maintaining the product and overall customer experience.

“We want our riders to feel as though they’re being heard. We’re confident we’ll get it right,” he said.  

Zip Ride intends to conduct routine training of its drivers in an effort to maintain its customer-centric level of service.

The app boasts features such as an SOS alert option for both drivers and riders, underscoring its focus on service delivery through tech-based solutions. Zip Ride intends to explore the possibility of partnering with the Police Service on this feature, but, for now, riders will be able to send SOS alerts to their set emergency contacts.

Hinkson said rider and driver verification is required, and live tracking will add an element of safety and security on rides.

In terms of the fare structure, Zip Ride is only slightly more expensive than TT Rideshare, but is less costly than Drop. A cancellation fee of $20 will apply to cancelled rides after a length of time on which a decision is still being made.

The app currently supports cash and credit card payment options, but the Zip Ride CEO said innovative wallet options are in development.

Riders have flexible on-demand and rental options, where they can make immediate or future bookings or make a reservation to book a ride for a set period of time.

There are three classes of rides to cater to all: Everyday, Elite, Executive/Corporate.

“It’s a little ambitious, but if you’re getting everything in one place then its more convenient to you,” Hinkson said.

Hinkson said the service will be launched soon and with “a little treat for the season”.

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