Grab Review (Singapore)




According to its website, “Grab is an automated smartphone based booking and dispatch platform. It matches passengers with drivers for transport by taxis, cars and bikes (varies by market)”. So basically, it is a platform that allows you to book a ride to get to your destination through different modes of transport (where available).

Despite having heard of people raving about Grab, I’ve never had to need nor want to use Grab simply because getting a taxi was pretty easy (and I was just too lazy to download the app and sign up for an account). However, that soon all changed one day after lunch when one of my colleagues managed to score a ride back to the office for a mere S$6 (with the 3 of us that cost us S$2 each!).

Since then, I have been trying out Grab occasionally and here is my thought on the experience so far.

Experience 1, 2, 3 (GrabTaxi)

It was the Christmas/year-end period and Grab was having a promotion of S$10 x 3 voucher if you entered in the promo code into your booking (GrabTaxi). So that means having S$10 off your total bill (which is pretty nice I must say). Surprisingly the app was easy to use and for each of the 3 times, getting a (regular) taxi to respond to the call was relatively fast. The drivers were your typical friendly taxi uncles who drove Comfort, Premier and SMRT taxis. How coincidental that each time was a different taxi company, but the rides were all pleasant.

Payment was a breeze: just add your credit card into the app and each time after your ride, the fare will be charged and you will be sent a receipt to your preferred email. I have to say, alighting the taxi without having to ‘pay’ (i.e. take out your wallet, search for coins and collect back change) is a nice (hassle-free) experience. It almost makes you forget that you actually paid for your ride.. almost...
What I like about the the price for the Grab ride is that is upfront and there are surprises or extra charges. Most taxi drivers are not in favor of credit cards and there is an administration fee if you attempt to use your card to pay for for ride. With Grab, that is eliminated.

One thing to note is that GrabTaxis will add a booking fee to the overall ride so the price you see on the app is actually just the ride fare, it does not include the booking fare. The booking fee varies by taxi company and ranges from between S$3 – 4.50.
Receipt sent to your email after the ride

As there is a booking fee involved for GrabTaxi, I would only use this option when there are promotions, there are no cabs to flag, or when the usual Comfort Cab App (which is pretty good by the way) does not yield any results. Otherwise, GrabTaxi isn’t really that fantastic. Convenient and hassle free maybe, but not when there is an abundance of taxis.

However, I highly recommend you try GrabTaxi when you are in a pinch and need to get someplace in a hurry. Unlike the other Grab options, GrabTaxi does not impose on the number of people (e.g. for GrabShare you can only bring along 1 other person), as long as you have 4 people you can sit in a GrabTaxi. It’s easier too if you have any luggage or bulky items too, as taxis are meant to have adequate boot space. It’s a bonus when there are promotions!

Experience 4 (GrabShare)

From its website, “GrabShare is a carpooling service that allows passengers to share the ride and the fare while drivers get to earn more by picking up multiple passengers going the same way”. It allows the drivers to “take 2 bookings heading in the same direction at the same time.” So try this option only when you are not in a hurry.

GrabCar on the other hand only allows 1 booking and can take more passengers. It also costs slightly more than GrabShare, but it is (usually) cheaper than GrabTaxi.

Between GrabShare and GrabCar, not only was the price for GrabShare (slightly) cheaper, there was also an ongoing promotion for S$5 for your GrabShare ride. So needless to say, I tried it out and a ride that would have taken me 10-15 minutes doubled in time as we picked up another passenger nearby and alighted her before getting to my destination.

The driver arrived relatively fast (within 5 minutes). He was polite and the ride was pleasant enough. The route was not that bad and was relatively ‘along the way’ so no complaints there. What would have made it a nicer experience was having the choice of choosing a female driver for GrabShare. Grab should match (verified) female passengers with female drivers. 

Experience 5 (GrabTaxi)

There’s this ongoing Citibank credit card promotion that allows you to redeem your Grab ride in full with your credit card miles/points (the Citibank credit card that is used to pay). It ends on 7 February 2017. You just need to SMS back within 3 hours to redeem. If your redemption is successful, you will receive a confirmation SMS.
One of the Citibank credit card promotions with Grab. It ends on 7 February 2017.

Due to the bad traffic that day, what would have cost be an average of S$13 (S$17 if the booking fee was included) actually cost me S$19.12! Oh my wallet… Thank God for the Citibank credit card promotion.

Experience 6 (GrabCar)

This option is slightly more expensive than GrabShare since you have the whole car to yourself, but it could be cheaper than your regular flagged down taxi or GrabTaxi (especially during non-peak hours). Since it is a flat rate, you would save if the traffic is bad (e.g. meter is no ticking away) or the driver takes a longer route. 

The ride cost me S$15, but due to the Citibank promo, yup... I redeemed my ride in full. The driver for that  ride was super friendly and quite  chatty (in a nice way), making the ride quite pleasant.

The App

The app is pretty easy to use and can be downloaded for both Apple and Andriod phones. I am using the Apple App and it was pleasantly straight forward to use. It can be set up and used within 3 (4, if you count the payment part) steps:
  1. Sign up with either your Facebook, Google account or email.
  2. Once you have created your account, simply select your preferred mode of payment and enter in your credit card numbers should you want to go cashless (highly recommended).
  3. To get a ride, just browse a ride (and price) that is most suitable for you and enter in your location and destination. You can save your favorite destinations/locations for future bookings. When a driver has accepted your ride request, details pertaining to the driver and his car/taxi will be sent via the app. There is even a tracking function where you can locate your ride and see how far/near it is from your pickup location. So far it seems pretty accurate
  4. You will be sent a couple of the receipt at the end of your ride and your credit card will be charged accordingly.

Conclusion

GrabTaxi is best used when there are promotions and/or if you have a group of 1-4 people and want a ‘proper’ taxi ride with lots of boot space. There is a booking fee involved, same as when you call for taxi.

GrabShare might be the most economical of all, but it is definitely not a time saver and in a group of more than 2. So if you are in a hurry and/or have more than 1 friend with you, never attempt a GrabShare.

GrabCar might be something I would use when I have exhausted all the other options and/or I have more than 2 people in the group, but only if the fare is cheaper than the rest (which hardly is when it is peak hours).

If you are looking for something more economical than your usual taxi fare, going with GrabShare or GrabCar might be a better option, but the price would also depend on the timing you want to ride for (expect to pay more during peak hours). It might actually be more expensive to Grab than just flagging down a normal taxi since the booking fee is included or the rate for GrabShare or GrabCar might be higher.

Still the Grab app does have its advantages, especially if you need to get someplace real quick and there isn’t a taxi in sight, or if you want to have a cheaper ride (and manage to get one). With Grab you can do that seamlessly and know how much you are paying for. And it’s even better when there are promotions!

That said, I don’t think I would take Grab when there are no promotions, unless the price really can’t be beat. After all simply flagging for one is much easier for me most of the times.   

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About TravelBytez

When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.
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