As Aussies continue to discover and find comfort in the unbounded realms of Uber, a new app is hitting this space.
It's called HOP and it is set to offer an alternative ride-sharing service to drivers and riders.
"In every market across the world, there has always been a second or third option. When it comes to ground transportation, the Australian market doesn't have that," founder Zeryab Cheema told The Huffington Post Australia.
"We're here to be that choice."
This is going to be the first of many. If you can take people from point A to point B, you can take anything from point A to point B as well.
Cheema is a 20-year-old economics student from Sydney. In between exams, he runs an international technology company called iView and monitors its main service, Taxi 24/7.
"Taxi 24/7 was my first project that I started when I was 15 years old," Cheema said. "I was watching George Negus on TV talk about how apps where the next big thing. I wanted to be part of the action.
"I started to look at industries that could use an app or be disrupted in that space."
Cheema developed Taxi 24/7, a mobile booking app that allows passengers to deal directly with their nearest cab driver.
"We launched in 2012 and Taxi 24/7 started working domestically. I started to realise that it wasn't the best fit for our changing market," Cherab said. "I thought about how I needed to innovate that space."
Fast forward four years and the 20-year-old is launching HOP, in partnership with Hertz car rentals.
"I was interested in using their 4,500 rental cars to provide rides for people. The whole idea is to use existing resources for a new purpose."
How does it work?
Think about everything that you love about Uber and combine that with the ease of hailing a cab. On top of that, consider our societal need to reduce the number of cars on our roads.
"The whole aim behind HOP is to jump on car ownership. We provide our drivers with a Hertz rental car that they can use both personally and commercially," Cheema said.
"Each car is no more than 18 months old and it is fully insured -- a point of difference from any other option currently on the market."
HOP drivers can choose their car and their rental period -- and they will take away 100 percent of their fare. All they will pay is the rental charge.
"We simply don't take the 25 to 30 percent commission that Uber takes. We're not going to cut our drivers' income," Cheema said.
The HOP service offers customers three options: 'HOP Fast', a direct competitor for Uber X and other ride-sharing services, 'HOP Pro', a mid-range to high-end hiring service, and 'HOP Luxe' -- for top-end travellers.
Using 'HOP Fast', riders can book a HOP car through the app -- or 'street-book' (hail) one on-the-go.
And according to Cheema, all three options are cheaper that what is currently on the market.
"We control a lot of our supply chain. With 4,500 cars per zone, we can make sure that our prices are low, that we still make our cut and that drivers are taking away their entire fare."
When can we use it?
After being released on November 17 for users and drivers to pre-register their details, the HOP app is available now.
"We have been doing free rides in the last week and the traction has been amazing," Cheema said.
"We've had some great feedback about the process being quite seamless. And the fact that you can street book without even having the app on your phone has been a winner."
The full service will be launched on November 28.
"This is going to be the first of many. If you can take people from point A to point B, you can take anything from point A to point B as well."
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