During nights out at bars, a common question I usually notice getting thrown around at the table is, “How are you getting home?”
While driving under the influence is dangerous and lawbreaking, I’m sure the bigger concern to most is getting stopped at police roadblocks.
Despite the risks, many would still rather sober up to drive themselves home instead of getting a Grab, in order to avoid leaving their cars parked at a dodgy spot overnight.
Offering a solution to this dilemma is Buddy Driver, a service provided under TREVO, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform. Buddy Driver is available in Klang Valley, and it enables you to call a personal chauffeur to drive you places with your own car.
Get you a chauffeur to drive your own car
Driving is deeply rooted within the Malaysian demographic, and Buddy Driver isn’t just targeting the drinking crowd.
Some other reasons you might want to call up a Buddy Driver may include:
- Avoiding the hassle of looking for parking while going for back-to-back appointments;
- Needing someone to wait in the car for you while you run errands or tapau food;
- Just preferring to have someone else drive you instead of driving yourself places.
“We wanted to offer the services of a personal driver on-demand to Malaysians should the need arise at a competitive and accessible price,” stated MinHyeon Jo, Acting COO of SOCAR Mobility Malaysia, the parent company of TREVO. “The service of a personal driver is not a luxury as some might imagine, but can be a necessity that impacts our daily life.”
Personally, I can see myself using such a service because I’m not keen on driving myself to places like downtown KL where road users aren’t the most courteous.
During the service’s current introductory period, rates are fixed at RM30 for the first hour, and RM20 for every subsequent hour. Right off the bat, Buddy Driver’s rate is actually comparable to calling a Grab.
Due to massive traffic congestions, driver availability has been few and far between, not to mention the higher prices caused by the same issue.
If you’re intending to use Buddy Driver for a two-way trip, fees for the driving duration and waiting time in between will be taken into account. That means, as long as the Buddy Driver is required to wait in the car, fees for the total duration will be charged accordingly.
Some questions about the service
The advantage of the service is that Buddy Drivers are able to meet you at your location and use your car to drive you wherever you need them to.
But I wondered, how exactly do the Buddy Drivers get to my location in the first place if they’re using my car? What is the company doing to ensure that their drivers aren’t forking out hefty fees to work for them?
When probed, MinHyeon replied that Buddy Drivers are responsible for travelling to their own destinations using whatever form of transport they need. Partial financial aid will also be provided by the company to assist the drivers in reaching their designated areas at the given time.
Another question I had about Buddy Driver’s service was whether or not the car owner needs to be present during the trip. What if I need to send my car to the mechanic? What if I need help sending my grandma for a checkup?
MinHyeon highly recommends car owners be present at all times during the Buddy Driver service. But because the service understands that car owners can sometimes be busy and require the help of a personal driver, Buddy Driver will still accept such requests.
“However, the service rendered will be stipulated based on the terms and conditions published,” stated MinHyeon.
Road safety first, always
Of course, when traffic and your own vehicle are involved in the success of this service, safety is a big concern.
Hence, Buddy Driver has put some safety measures in place. For example, all Buddy Drivers must be at least 21 years old, Malaysian, hold a valid competent driver’s licence, and have passed the company’s training as well as background checks.
The background check involves Buddy Driver going through extensive checks on their credibility and past records.
“Successful candidates will then participate in the mandatory training before becoming a full-fledged driver,” MinHyeon said. “Throughout the tenure, their performance will be closely monitored, and underperforming drivers will be barred from providing driver services.”
Buddy Driver’s FAQ also states that users need to have comprehensive insurance (inclusive coverage for all drivers) coverage for their car, in the event an accident occurs.
However, MinHyeon shared that Buddy Driver will still accept bookings if customers do not own comprehensive insurance, although it is highly encouraged.
“Should an accident occur, it will be as per standard insurance claim requirement which requires the Buddy Driver and involved parties to get a proper police report for the insurance claim request of the car owner,” he elaborated.
For now, in the event drivers or car owners mistreat each other throughout the service, Buddy Driver encourages both parties to report their claims through the service’s LiveChat. If the case needs urgent attention, they can raise a report to relevant authorities immediately.
In for the long ride
At the moment, Buddy Driver is only available in Klang Valley, and is being soft-launched in Penang.
The team is aiming to expand the Buddy Driver service to other states where TREVO is present.
Simultaneously, the team is aiming to reach a double-digit growth month-on-month while continuing to enhance the app to provide a better user experience based on customer feedback.
If the team can tap into the existing pool of TREVO customers who are looking for a different experience, that goal could be within easier reach.
“Ultimately, we hope to cultivate a culture of personal drivers on-demand that utilises our service beyond the current portfolios,” MinHyeon stated.
- Learn more about Buddy Driver here.
- Read other Malaysian startups we’ve featured here.
Featured Image Credit: MinHyeon Jo, Acting COO of SOCAR Mobility Malaysia