Catching Up

M'sia's First Female E-Hailing Service Shares How They Survive In A Grab-Dominated Market

  • Riding Pink is a women only ride-sharing established in 2016 by Denise Tan, with the aim of providing safe rides and additional income opportunities for Malaysian women.
  • Two years after starting, Riding Pink now have a full app-based ecosystem for their ride-sharing platform, and plan to start their expansion across the rest of Malaysia.

When we featured Riding Pink in 2016, the female-only ride-hailing service founded by Denise Tan had only just kicked off operations.

With the ambition of providing Malaysian women safe rides and an equal chance at earning income as ride-sharing drivers, Riding Pink began by linking female riders and drivers through phone calls or personal messaging via WhatsApp.

Fast forward to 2018, Riding Pink have undergone a host of changes—from relying on WhatsApp, to transitioning to web-based systems in 2017, to now having a complete app-based ecosystem for their riders and drivers. All this is in response to their steadily increasing number of trips.

“The business has grown from a mere 10 rides a day during the first week of launch to a couple of thousand of rides monthly,” said Denise. “Our user base has increased tremendously and this is not even taking into account the other states that we’ll be expanding to really soon.”

Niche Is No Negative

For Riding Pink, these are welcome developments considering the quasi-monopolistic state of ride-sharing in Malaysia.

Even with Grab as the dominant market leader, Denise claims that all this hasn’t deterred Riding Pink from staying true to its objective of creating strong female representation within the e-hailing ecosystem.

“Despite all the changes, we’ve stood true to our core mission which is to empower women with safe rides and to provide them with additional income opportunities,” she said.

“Riding Pink was formed by a housewife drawing on her own experiences and the challenges she faced at home with two young children to take care of.”

“As such, the mission is a powerful one and one we will not detract from,” she added. “The mission continues to drive us and the response from the public has simply been heart-warming which encourages us to go further.”

She also went on to say that despite being a niche market player, concerns about profit were unmerited due to Riding Pink’s focus on product quality first and profits second, which lends an explanation to their slow-burn style of growth as opposed to crazily rapid expansion.

“The most obvious challenge is having the market size cut down by half,” she said. “Nonetheless, we aren’t too concerned with this as the main focus of the platform has always been to remain focused on the mission and not profit.”

“At Riding Pink, we believe that ultimately it isn’t the overall net number of users we have, but more the quality of impact we have on our users, even if it be half the population.”

Riding Safe And Sound

This ethos employed by Riding Pink is also part of their objective to retain the customers that they get, and have all been embedded into their newly released app now available on Android (an iOS version is set to release soon).

With safety and privacy a major concern within the scope of e-hailing today, Denise explained that the app includes a host of features specially designed with their users’ safety in mind.

Screenshots from Riding Pink’s driver app.

“One of the key aspects of our core mission is to provide safe, affordable, and reliable rides to our riders and drivers,” she said. “As such we have in-built safety features into the app which includes SOS functions and voice recordings.”

What the rider app looks like.

“We also perform thorough checks on our drivers, as well as riders, and both know the identity of each other way ahead of ride time.”

She also added that Riding Pink—even before it was mandated by the government—had already put in place a system that required riders to provide full identification details before being able to log on to their accounts to book rides.

In The Pink Of Health

So with a proper system now in place to facilitate their services, Riding Pink is set to move ahead with their plans for expansion, with their eyes set on filling in newly discovered market niches.

“We’ve seen some interesting findings, such as users using Riding Pink to transport their kids because they find our service to be a reliable and safer alternative,” Denise elaborated.

“We’ve also seen lots of requests for customised trips with multiple stops and long-term ride requests for riders on a fixed schedule.”

Then there’s also the prospect of expanding their reach into other regions in Malaysia, beginning with Negeri Sembilan.

“With the successful launch of the rider app, and with all infrastructures in place that we’ve built up through the experience of operating these past couple of years, it’s time to bring to expand our services to reach more women,” Denise added.

“Riding Pink hopes to become Malaysia’s home-grown name in empowering women.”

  • You can download Riding Pink’s apps on the Google Play Store. Download the rider app here, and the driver app here.
  • For more information and updates on Riding Pink, head on over to their website or Facebook page.

Feature Image Credit: Riding Pink

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