A Filipino-made ride-hailing app offering a safe and fast booking service of vehicles was formally launched Sunday at the SMX Convention Center.
Hype, like Singapore-based company Grab, was formed to provide pre-arranged transportation services between the passengers and registered car owners and taxi drivers.
In contrast with its competitor, Hype is founded and managed by a company composed of an all-Filipino staff.
Run by Hype Transport Systems, Inc., the ride-hailing service tags itself as a “viable transport alternative.”
“We wanted Filipinos to have the power to choose the most affordable, the safest, the most convenient, and with the most number of transport options possible,” said Nicanor Escalante, president of Hype Transport Systems, Inc.
The app has five vehicle options: HYPE Taxi, HYPE Pool, HYPE Sedan, HYPE AUV, and premium option HYPE SUV.
Fares start at a base fare of P40 with an additional charge of P14 per kilometer. Price surges will be capped off at two times the original fare.
When asked about the difference between Hype and the popular Grab, Escalante said their app allows users to book rides through a text message.
“Kami lang ang mayroon no’n. Even the text that you will send us is free of charge,” he said.
Speaking before reporters at the launch, Hype’s Chief Technology Officer John Cordoniz Jr. explained that the app detects if the user is connected to a WiFi or has a mobile data.
If not, the app would redirect the user to a page giving him the option to book a ride using text message, Cordoniz explained.
Hype also developed a mechanism to respond to emergencies that could arise during the ride.
It has a “panic button” that warns their customer service if the passenger or the driver is in danger. The panic button is also an option for either the passenger or the driver if they feel uncomfortable during the ride.
This was Hype’s solution to protect their stakeholders from harassment cases which were reported in other transport vehicle network service providers.
More players, lower cost
Grab dominated the TNVS industry after it bought the entire Southeast Asian operations of California-based Uber earlier this year.
For economics professor Carlos Manapat, the entry of a new TNVS provider in the transport market would benefit the riding public.
“The entry of a new player allows consumers to choose and it lowers the price,” Manapat told Manila Standard.
“If there are more [TNVS] providers, one company cannot dictate the cost of services,” he added.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued a two-year accreditation to Hype last April, allowing them to operate nationwide as a TNVS provider.