SINGAPORE (Aug 15): Drivers of ride-hailing platform Ryde will be able to earn extra income with RydeSEND, its very own on-demand courier service.

To be launched on Sept 3, users of RydeSEND will be able to deliver small items such as documents, parcels, flowers or packed food within 60 minutes. However, the packages cannot be heavier than 20kg or bigger than 70cm by 50 cm by 50cm.

With RydeSEND, Ryde will be the only ride-hailing platform in Singapore to offer peer-to-peer courier services using its current base of 60,000 drivers consisting of 12,000 RydeX private-hire drivers who hold a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) and 48,000 carpool drivers who do not hold the licence.

As a licence is not required for package delivery, Ryde carpool drivers without the PDVL can do deliveries via RydeSEND to supplement their income as they can only complete two passenger trips a day, according to Ryde CEO and founder Terence Zou.

Charges for RydeSEND will be based on Ryde’s existing ride-hailing service RydeX which uses dynamic pricing plus an additional $6 for door-to-door delivery.

“RydeSEND is unlike ride-hailing which is tightly regulated in Singapore. The courier services and logistics markets are not as tightly regulated and anyone can send a parcel so we are happy to mobilise our entire fleet [for this new service],” says Zou.

Last year, the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) introduced the PDVL and gave private hire drivers a one-year grace period to obtain the licence. As at early June, about 40% of the 56,300 private-hire car drivers have yet to undergo their PDVL training or pass the test.

While RydeSEND currently only accepts applications from car drivers, this will be extended to motorcycle riders when the service is officially launched.

Zou plans to sign up 20,000 motorcyclists by 4Q18. If he succeeds and together with the drivers it has, Ryde will have the largest delivery fleet in Singapore providing full mobility and courier services in one single app.

"There is synergy as we are tapping the same supply," adds Zou

Tapping on drivers to deliver packages is not new in Singapore though. Last August, Amazon Prime Now, faced with a flood of orders, resorted to booking taxis and tapping freelance drivers to make some of its deliveries.

Amazon even engaged local transport operator ComfortDelGro to help attain its two-hour delivery pledge. LTA responded by saying taxis and private-hire cars cannot be used solely for the transport of goods.

Update on Aug 16, 10.02am:

LTA has issued a warning to ride-hailing firm Ryde after its RydeSend launch announcement.

"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," said an LTA spokesperson.

Taxis and private-hire cars are meant to carry passengers for hire and reward, and cannot be used for the conveyance of goods, said the spokesperson, adding that Ryde did not consult LTA prior to launching this service and that any new service would have to comply with LTA regulations.