Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tripda Seeks to Modernize Carpooling

Tripda is modernizing the carpooling experience by allowing drivers and passengers to connect with each other via the web or via its own dedicated app (iOS, Google Play). Originally from Brazil, Tripda is now available in 13 countries including the Philippines. Established in October of last year, Tripda Philippines is the latest venture of PLDT-backed Rocket Internet whose portfolio includes carmudi, lamudi, foodpanda, pricepanda, and Clickbus.

Tripda is aiming to revolutionize carpooling the same way AirBnB has done to the lodging business. Unlike other services such as Uber and Grabcar, Tripda is not a driver-for-hire. Instead, Tripda simply connects drivers with spare seats in their cars (who would otherwise travel alone) with passengers who need a ride (who would otherwise commute). The key here is that both parties must be making similar trips (same origin, same destination, or at least in the way for the driver).

CarGuide.PH sat down with Tripda Philippines’s Country Manager, Erick Coser, to talk about this advanced carpooling platform.

According to Mr. Coser, Tripda started in Brazil where Facebook Groups were commonly set-up to connect university students who need a ride to and from school.

“In Brazil, big universities are clustered in big cities, so it’s common for some students to go back home to their provinces on weekends. Some take their cars, some take the bus. And the distance between these cities are big…like going from Manila to Batangas or Manila to Pampanga. After a while, some students began offering to carpool classmates or schoolmates. Tripda is an offshoot of that. We are giving them a much more convenient way to connect,” says Mr. Coser.

Indeed, the target market of Tripda is university students and yuppies who go to and from common origins and destinations. In the Philippines, the company is targeting users who go to the business districts of Eastwood City, Ortigas Center, Bonifacio Global City, and Makati. Coser said that all of these areas could use less vehicle volume to improve traffic and lessen pollution.

In fact, Tripda isn’t supposed to replace a driver’s income. Rather, drivers use the service to simply defray the cost of an otherwise empty car.

“Tripda is also a cost-affordable solution so we made sure that pricing is comparable to that of public transportation such as UV Express [shuttle vans]. There’s also a cap to how much a driver can charge so make sure he’s not making a huge profit out of the service,” Coser said. “We don’t expect our drivers to go back and forth his origin and destination to make a living.”

In order to provide a secure service, Tripda binds a user’s Facebook ID (there’s no alternative log-in option) as well as verify their identity with both their mobile phone and e-mail address. In addition, ladies can opt to ride only with other women (Ladies-Only Rides). On the other hand, Tripda drivers need to register their vehicle by providing the brand, model, number of available seats, and route. They can select which days they do a particular route or even if it’s just a one-time thing. Regardless, all drivers must also have a valid Driver’s License and must have comprehensive insurance.

Using Tripda is pretty straight-forward: first, passengers enter their pick-up location, destination, and date of departure. The system then matches drivers and passengers looking to travel on the same route.
Drivers available appear together with their rates, time of availability, and number of available seats. Once the ride is completed, drivers and passengers can rate one another. The app also allows some level of customization by allowing a driver or passenger to select whether they like or don’t like: chatty companions, smoking, pets, among others. Best of all? Using Trida is absolutely free.

In order to entice more Filipinos to sign up and try Tripda, the company is planning to offer special perks to would be drivers. This starts with a P 1,000 Petron e-GC for every five bookings (the same person cannot book the same driver more than twice a day) from now until February 1.

With over 50,000 users worldwide, Tripda has high hopes to change the Filipino perception towards carpooling. With the rather poor condition of public transportation in the country as well as the increasing traffic and pollution problem, perhaps office workers commuting to and from the same areas should give Tripda a chance.

To find out more about Tripda, log-on to www.tripda.com.ph.

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