GrabShare (Singapore) – 12.5% chance of a mismatched ride

GrabShare is still in its “Beta” stage

After the many good rides I have taken so far, I should have guessed that it was bound to happen sooner or later – the one ride that leaves a not-so-good impression. It was a fine morning and after deciding to GrabShare to work, it took the driver more than 15 minutes to arrive for the just pickup. The app finally failed and the route calculation was bad! It also did not help that the driver (apparently he has been driving for about 7 months) was relatively new to the road and not that familiar navigating using the GPS. 😱😱😱

First, the app displayed the wrong timing: initially once the booking was accepted, the estimated time of arrive was about 5 minutes and than it became 10 minutes and 14 minutes etc... The driver was not really that nearby and had to pass a couple of traffic lights (reealllyy) far away. When the tracking on the app showed that the driver was about 8 minutes away, I was really tempted already to cancel and re-book (should have listened to my gut instinct), but I waited instead (that’s what happens when you are too nice a person ha ha). πŸ˜“

Second, from the time it took the driver to reach me there was still not a sign of Passenger B (i.e. still finding a passenger). Only when we were about to depart for my destination, was Passenger B found. Passenger B was located somewhat along the way, but unfortunately the driver was not that familiar with the area and using a GPS. So the result was he missed the location of Passenger B and the short detour of maybe 5-10 minutes became an excruciating 15-20 minutes. He even had to cancel on Passenger B because he was traveling in the wrong direction.

Third, if I had not asked him if he was still attempting to locate Passenger B (after looking at his GPS which was leading him in the opposite direction and even further from Passenger B and my destination!), he might not have called Passenger B to inform her and told her to cancel instead. At this point, Passenger B was also a little peeved and frantic (she was on speaker) as she was totally late (as was I), but she readily complied. So what ensued after that was another detour (10 more minutes of additional travel) to the express way and on towards my destination (finally!).

So a ride that would normally take me about 15- 20 minutes, took me almost 50 minutes to reach my destination (and that is without Passenger B)! I know that taking GrabShare comes with a risk of a longer journey (a.k.a being late), but this is simply ridiculous!

Not only was the app inaccurate in the estimation of arrival time and distance of the driver (I could have gotten another one was nearer and that could come faster), the notification of the pickup for Passenger B was simply too last minute. And to top it off the driver, while friendly, was pretty new to the roads and unfamiliar. All those factors contributed to the ‘tragedy’ of a very long wasted bad ride overall.

This would have to be one of the worst routes/rides using the Grab App, and it wasn’t really the driver’s fault 100%. So when it came to giving a rating it was hard… So what/who am I supposed to rate? The driver who was amicable but not too familiar with his way around, which resulted in longer detours than preferred? Or the app who gave the job to the driver to accept when he was not really that nearby and than assigning him Passenger B a little too late, further adding to the long detours and wasting time?

It wasn’t even that much cheaper either. Heck, it was raining the day before and I paid $2 lesser for that Grabshare. In addition, I also arrived at my destination much earlier (about 30 minutes from the time of booking), even with the detour and Passenger B
In contrast to the wet weather the day before, the weather ib this fateful day was fine and the traffic not too bad, yet I arrived about 50 minutes from the time of booking!

I know I know, don’t take GrabShare if you are in a hurry right? But the thing is, even if I factor in the detour time, today’s incident and the numerous detours taken were simply something that is not acceptable. It would be good if Grab could come up with further measures like: 
  • Only show the booking request to drivers who are really within the vicinity (e.g. within 10 minutes)
  • Make it optional for passengers to cancel (without penalty to both driver and passenger) if the location of the driver is really too far away (anything more than 10 minutes is far), and the option to re-book if there is a driver much nearer to the vicinity. 
  • Inform passengers of the pickups and destinations/total time it would take to get to their destination before accepting a booking, and the option to cancel and re-book a GrabCar instead (when necessary), so they can plan better. 
  • Even better, don’t assign Passenger B once Passenger A is being picked up and about to leave (e.g. if no Passenger B can be found upon arrival to pick up Passenger A, don't assign one). Sure we want to save money (and perhaps the environment), but if this continues it really defeats the purpose of sharing a ride, doesn’t it?

According to the app, GrabShare is still in its “Beta” stage so I am sure there are quite few kinks in their matching algorithms to settle before this product becomes something even better. However, considering that this mismatched ride was 1 out of 8 rides (7 other successful matches) within a week; a 12.5% chance of a mismatched ride is a chance I can live with (especially if I can end up saving 20-30% on taxi fares per month). That said, I would still take GrabShare in the future, it just a matter of when to take it.
GrabShare
GrabShare is still in its “Beta” stage

Have you ever taken GrabShare before? And if yes, how was your experience, do share!
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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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