Monday, 12 February 2018

(The Star) Car booking app expands out of Penang

Plans are also afoot to extend services to other countries

Penang-based car booking app Mula Car will be increasing its fleet of cars to 750 from 250 currently to expand its coverage outside of the state.

The booking platform is owned by Mula Car International Sdn Bhd.

Its managing director Goh Kok Peow says the new cars would be for its operations in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

According to Goh, there is growth potential in a new market like Johor due to the number of visitors from Singapore.

Its car services should start in Johor by June.

“Subsequently, we will open in Malacca, Seremban, and Ipoh before the end of 2018. We will study the market in these states before investing in additional cars,” he says.

“Since we started last May, the growth is about 20% every month.

“For this reason, we expect to achieve about 160,000 rides provided by end-April. By April 2019, the number of rides should increase to 400,000,” he adds.

Apart from its car booking business, the company also intends to ramp up its courier services under Mxpress.

“We are also providing courier services for parcel and hamper delivery. This is targeted at those customers with parcels that need to be couriered in less than half a day.

“The normal time taken by our competitors to deliver a parcel is about eight hours. We can do it in less than half a day,” he added.

While there are many other car-hailing apps in town as well as other providers offering courier services, Goh says his company will compete and carve a niche for itself in the market on the safety front.

“We want to provide safe and reliable services, so we check the background of our drivers very carefully.

“Because we are very stringent with the process, it takes us a month just to engage 50 drivers.

“We check their financial background to make sure that the drivers don’t owe loan sharks any money, lest they are being chased and can’t execute their duties reliably.

“We screen their health status too to make sure they don’t have communicable diseases,” he explains.

After the medical and financial screening process, the drivers are required to attend workshops on ethics and advanced driving skills, according to Goh.

Goh also says that Mula Car has just launched its Mula Pink ride, which is designed for female passengers who prefer female drivers.

“They can book such rides via the Mula application,” Goh says.

The app is also operating in China via a partnership with some local entrepreneurs. Its services were launched in November.

“Our services are now found in Shenzhen and across 55 other cities in China.

“We plan for Mula Car to start in Indonesia and Thailand in 2019,” he adds.

Goh says he embarked on the business because of the potential growth of Internet-based business.

“If the right model is adopted, an Internet-based business could grow very fast,” he notes.

Mula’s fleet comprises the Proton Ertiga, Proton Perdana, Hyundai Sonata and Starex cars.

The company plans to have 2,000 new cars on the road all across Malaysia by 2019 with the intention of providing safety and comfort to travellers, says Goh.