Go-Jek launches beta app for ‘thousands’ of users in Singapore

Commuters are now able to use Go-Jek in Singapore. — TODAY file pic
Commuters are now able to use Go-Jek in . — TODAY file pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 29 — Ending months of anticipation, Go-Jek has swooped into Singapore with its beta mobile application today, with the ride-hailing service made available to commuters in batches to balance “ride demand and service capabilities”.The Indonesia-based firm would only say that “thousands” of users will be given access during the beta launch. As part of its partnership with DBS, the Singapore bank’s customers will have priority access on the waitlist, which will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The service will initially cover more than half of Singapore, including the Central Business District, Jurong East, Changi, Punggol, Ang Mo Kio, and Sentosa.

These areas were chosen based on population density, and are being limited initially to “better manage supply and demand”, the firm said.

Go-Jek’s service will eventually be expanded islandwide, and coverage will be enlarged progressively through the beta phase, which will last several weeks.

The beta app can be downloaded from this afternoon on the and Android app stores. Riders will be placed on a waitlist, and will receive an email message or push notification once they have been granted access.

DBS or POSB customers who are given priority may enter an access code — “DBS” followed by the first six digits of their Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card — during registration.

They will be the first users to be allowed to book rides, with other perks including an exclusive S$10 (RM31) voucher credit that they may use on their first two trips (S$5 per trip). Commuters who are not DBS customers may download the app during this testing phase, but may take longer to gain access to the service, Go-Jek said.

The company will use feedback from drivers and riders to fine-tune the product.

Go-Jek president Andre Soelistyo said: “Consumers throughout the country have told us that they want more choice in this sector, and with the launch of our beta app, their wait is coming to an end.”

At the Singapore Fintech Festival earlier this month, Mr Soelistyo said he was a “little bit scared” of its much-anticipated launch here because there was “a lot of demand”. He later clarified with the media that he meant to say he was “excited” about the upcoming event.

Go-Jek is muscling into a ride-hailing market dominated by Singapore-based firm Grab. On Oct 29, it made its first move to recruit drivers by launching a portal where they may pre-register to use its platform.

The Jakarta-headquartered company had earlier announced that it was joining hands with DBS in Singapore to offer payment services when its beta app launches here.

Singapore is part of the ride-hailing giant’s larger plan for the region. Go-Jek said in May that it would invest US$500 million (RM2.09 billion) in its international expansion strategy to enter markets in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and in a matter of months. It also recently raised US$1.5 billion in funding, and its investors include Google, Temasek, conglomerate Tencent, and Meituan Dianping, a food-delivery service platform.

Go-Jek’s entry into Singapore is expected to reinvigorate competition in the ride-hailing sector after Grab’s high-profile takeover in March of ’s South-east Asia operations — including in Singapore — left commuters and drivers frustrated with the withdrawal of promotional codes and lower incentives.

Mr Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore, said in response to the launch of Go-Jek’s beta app: “We welcome competition. We believe more choice in the market enables innovation and promotes a higher level of service in the industry. 

“Grab remains focused on meeting our customers’ needs and building on our vision of becoming Singapore’s everyday superapp.”

In September, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore ruled that the Grab-Uber deal was anti-competitive, and imposed more than S$13 million in penalties on the two firms.

While Grab chose not to appeal the decision, Uber decided to do so, saying the competition watchdog’s ruling that the transaction led to a substantial reduction of competition, and that the American firm breached the law intentionally, was “unsupported and incorrect”. 

Meanwhile, Mr Kay Woo, chief executive officer of MVL — which runs Tada, another ride-hailing app — also said it welcomes Go-Jek’s addition to the ride-hailing space here, which will provide users with more options.  ”MVL is committed to bringing better ride-hailing experiences for drivers and riders alike through Tada,” Mr Woo added. — TODAY

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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