BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN- Brunei’s only ride-hailing app, DartCar, has recorded 40,000 rides since its launch a year ago, with the company targeting four-fold growth by the end of the year.

Dart Logistics CEO Zul’Amali DP Hj Idris said they are targeting 1,000 rides a day by 2020 and calling for more drivers to help meet the increasing volume.

“It’s a high target but look at us and what we’ve achieved,” he said at the company’s anniversary dinner on Saturday night. “We have always had high ambitions and we are really going for it.”

The startup initially launched in May 2017 as an app-based taxi-booking service, but the plan to introduce a ride-hailing faced several delays with the Ministry of Transport and Info-communciations only approving the DartCar service in March last year.

On the brink of shutting down, the greenlight gave the struggling company a lifeline and the daily number of rides has increased 10-fold since May 2018, the company said in a press release issued on DartCar’s one year anniversary.

There are currently 150 registered Dart drivers — up from 40 drivers just six months ago — with 68 percent comprising youth aged 20 to 34. Fifty percent of drivers were unemployed before signing up to DartCar.

Dart said the most diligent drivers have been able to make in excess of $1,500 a month, with the highest earners raking in up to $3,500 a month — a sizeable income given Brunei’s stagnant economy and high youth unemployment.

“I badly needed a paying job. Dart was the first company that hired me after months of trying to find employment,” Jihan Hj Masri told The Scoop last year. At the company’s anniversary celebration on Saturday, he was presented an award as Dart’s best driver, racking up 1,734 rides in one year, with a 99.94 percent customer five-star rating.

Dart said that 58 percent of their users are youth, showing an eagerness among young people to explore public transport solutions.