Grab’s problem versus Uber

I get in arguments constantly that I am an Uber lover and a Grab hater but most people won’t stop long enough to listen to my stance on it. I will say that after meeting an hearing Sacca I am even a bigger fan but I guess I was just super impressed with Sacca.

First off let me add that as Grab is a local I am constantly baffled and why they are not more local? They took forever to add credit cards, they have no loyalty program (huge mistake), and in places like Singapore their mapping and lack of using zip codes is comical.

On top of all of this the apps just suck – let me get detailed here:

– I will book a taxi. It is on the way. The app will crash. It re opens and it goes back to book a taxi mode. I have one on the way. Of course now I can’t contact the taxi because it shows I don’t have a taxi.

– This happened to me a number of times in Bangkok and since I couldn’t contact the taxi and they couldn’t find me they would cancel on me. I wouldn’t know this since the app thinks I don’t have a booking anyway.

– Other times I would re book only to find I would have two taxis coming. How would a system let me book two taxis? On top of this customer service would call me to inquire why I booked two cabs.

– Other issues like the timing mechanisms are totally broken and the app is just overly complicated.

However let me get to what I think is the core crux of why I don’t like Grab. It fails on the instant gratification scale that Uber absolutely nails. For example this is what I saw this morning when trying to get a GrabCar:

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To myself or my wife this would make it look like we have a chance of getting a car.

Wait for it – this is what almost always happens though:

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And happens and happens and almost always happens.

Why doesn’t it retry till I get a car?

Why does it show me there are cars around me but yet none accept the fare?

This is the part of Grab that lulls me into thinking it is just a booking app – like all other booking apps. Whereas Uber is an Instant Transportation Service living within my phone. If there are no cars available then it shows me that there are no cars. And practically every time it shows cars are available I am able to book one. Otherwise it shows no cars available. Or if really busy you see surge pricing.

I will take a surge price over hitting retry on Grab 100 times. Why? Instant gratification. I know I can book a car. With Grab. It is spray and pray.

There are those saying that Grab will just keep raising enough money to win. I think winning might be beating other regional players – Rocket already packed their bags. However Uber will win the ultimate battle due to the difference in how the core of their service works.

Grab could fix this but they don’t seem to be since the apps are as bad a they have ever been.

11 thoughts on “Grab’s problem versus Uber

  1. Ulf

    Use the tip function in grab and you will easily get a car. Same function as the Uber increase , just a bit more rudimentary implemented..
    Never crashed on Android for me..
    Sounds silly but since so many apps now leave vital info on screen that will only show up in emails hours later.. Especially flight bookings/payment /check in.. Screen shot is now one of my favorite functions..

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    1. Mr. KPI Post author

      If I have to tip to get a car that it just further enforces my point. Uber X is cheaper and always works and thus makes using Grab even more expensive. Silly.

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  2. TaxiPassenger

    I use comfort taxi app most of the time. Fast and cheap. Uber is always more expensive than normal taxi + booking fee.
    Grab is bad, I was turned off by so many taxis around me, but no one pick me up. I think it is fake. At least Uber is honest to let me know no cars around me.
    Grab taxis are mostly TransCab or Smrt. I don’t see why I need to pay more for lower service.

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  3. Carl Coryell-Martin

    Surge pricing is amazing. I much prefer to know that I can always get a fill, but I can’t predict the price. There are many other fixed price unknown time options (bus, waiting for a cab).

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  4. Pingback: Episode 69: Uber versus Didi, OlaCabs and GrabTaxi with Josh Horwitz - Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong

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