Branding themselves as mobility experts, a brief glance of the Wunder homepage tells us that Wunder Carpooling “is for the world’s most gridlocked cities”.
This perhaps explains why this Hamburg-based company has decided to set up here in eternal-jam-land Malaysia, but it’s entering a market that now has GrabShare and other carpooling apps like Droupr that was developed by locals for locals.
So what makes Wunder stand apart?
Well for one thing, services like Grabshare (or UberPool, eventually) are a for-profit endeavour by the drivers, and for the consumer work like how a taxi would. Meanwhile, Wunder’s costing system only pays the driver enough to cover the fuel cost to-location.
And that is very much deliberate. The Wunder team is trying to avoid incentivising new car purchases, or owners taking long detours out of their way to and from work to really deliver on their aim to reduce road congestion in the heart of Klang Valley.
Furthermore, riders are only given a maximum of two rides a day, to the office and back. They’re really doubling down on the concept of carpool-only, making the app focused on only enabling users to share empty seats in their vehicles on the way to work.
What this service aims to achieve is to cultivate carpooling culture among the Malaysian locals.
This effort comes after many government-based attempts to encourage locals to carpool, between carpool-only parkings of many years ago, to more recently, the proposed parking price-hike in KL. Wunder, among other services like GrabHitch might just be the innovators in the industry to finally bring carpooling culture to Malaysians, with the right marketing tactics.
It works, for all intents and purposes, like a group of colleagues who carpool to work together.
How It Works
Upon signing up on the app, users have the option of indicating whether they prefer to become drivers or passengers.
Then, users can set up their trip, preferred time for travel, and to scan for potential carpoolers around.
The app also does not currently have an online-payment option built-in, so passengers need to make sure that they have cash on hand while drivers might be encouraged to carry small change for ease of transactions.
Setting up a ride can be done between 30 minutes and 6 days from the intended trip. It does require a bit of pre-planning as since the app is still relatively new on Malaysian soil. There might be a while before the pool of users grows big enough to guarantee carpoolers along your route to work.
Upon our own trial of the app, most of us had difficulty finding matches, though I personally managed to get some.
The application interface is quite strict on users, and only allows users to set up one place of employment, and one home.
We understand the reason behind this restriction, but it does limit its usage for users who might have more than one place to travel to for work, as well as those who might want to get dropped off at places other than their home every once in a while.
Meeting People On Wunder
Built with extroverts in mind, Wunder emphasises its social element. One of the selling points by the team is that users get a chance to meet more people and travel without being lonesome anymore.
In the current stage where there are only a few early adopters in Malaysia, the app does not impose any user verification and users can start using their services almost immediately. While the app does have a rider rating system, users are more or less left on their own to determine whether the person is right for the ride.
Furthermore, unlike the currently inactive Dego and Malaysian-made carpooling app Droupr, users are not given the option (besides seeing the matched rider’s profiles) to filter matches based on gender.
In fact, Droupr even went one step further in these filtering efforts and even allow users to indicate preferences like whether they welcome smokers, or prefer a wicked music playlist.
And while Wunder may face some stiff competition in the Malaysian carpooling market with the many services available, this Tinder for the streets was able to gain some traction in Manila upon their release. With time and marketing, Wunder may just gain some traction with Malaysians with its intuitive iOS design.