'The audacity of Grab': Customers question why they're charged more for booking the same trip

TikTok user Mozzarellapapi sharing screenshots of the same trip with different rates.
PHOTO: Screengrab/TikTok/Mozzarellapapi

[UPDATE July 29, 9,55pm]  Responding to media queries, Grab said on Friday (July 29) that it does not charge passengers higher fares for locations saved in the app.

The ride-hailing company explained that its "pricing algorithm divides Singapore into many small zones on the map following latitude and longitude lines, based on the global Geohash system", which means pick-up points next to each other may have different fares as they're located in different zones.

Grab added that its system has "largely been keeping the variance in fares small for pick-up points that are very near to each other" and that it "will continue to keep working on ways to do so".


Convenience comes at a cost. But how much though?

A TikTok user Mozzarellapapi in Singapore said he was taken aback when he realised that the same trip on ride-hailing app Grab could allegedly be priced differently because of a user using its saved locations feature.

This feature adds convenience to the users' experience by allowing them to save frequently used addresses such as those of their home or the office.

Mozzarellapapi posted a TikTok video on Wednesday (July 27) about this discovery and it seemed like he wasn't the only one to experience it.

https://www.tiktok.com/@mozzarellapapi/video/7124974880407276802?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=6944924152827184641

He claimed that a girl he followed online alerted him to this 'glitch' when she found out Grab was charging her $5 more for a saved location trip compared to when she manually typed in the location.

Feeling intrigued, Mozzarrellapapi decided to give it a try. Lo and behold, he said that he was indeed charged more.

First he has his office, a building in Ann Siang Hill as a saved location, where a trip from home would cost him $23.80.

When he typed in another address, albeit one unit number away from his office, the price dropped to "only $16.80", he claimed.

"Why am I being charged $7 more for the same trip?" he asked.

AsiaOne has reached out to Grab for more information. 

In the comments section, one netizen wondered if the issue with the differing rates was simply timing.

"You sure it is not like the timing also? Cause sometimes even I book like 5 min it kinda vary [sic]."

Mozzarrellapapi confirmed that his screenshots were taken only one minute apart.

Other TikTok users were quick to get on their phones and check if they too were being charged more for a saved location trip.

Two netizens said they realised that there were price differences, with another commenting about "the audacity of Grab" and how he'll be switching to a competitor.


 

PHOTOS: Screengrabs/TikTok/Mozzarellapapi

This anomaly did not apply to everyone though.

Some netizens mentioned how there was simply no change in price for the trips they keyed in.

"Aw man, didn’t work for me. Tried 3 different nearby units but the prices were still the same," one wrote.

PHOTO: Screengrab/TikTok/Mozzarellapapi

Another TikTok user had a opposite experience to Mozzarellapapi, claiming that their saved location trip turned out to be cheaper than their manually typed-in ride.

PHOTO: Screengrab/TikTok/Mozzarellapapi

With Grab users having what seems to be contradictory experiences, AsiaOne decided to give this mini-battle of saved location versus manually typed-in location a go.

And we found that we did not encounter different rates when switching between saved locations and manually typed-in locations.

In recent months, Grab users have been pretty vocal with their displeasure with the app, including Grab's announcement on July 11 about grace periods being reduced from five to three minutes.

In this case, if a passenger keeps their driver waiting for more than three minutes, they would need to top up $3 to their fare.

While there were some grumblings online over this policy change, a Grab spokesperson mentioned it was "timely".

They added that the company is refining its controls on its backend so that drivers can only indicate they've arrived at the pick-up point once they have reached, or are very close to it. 

ALSO READ: 'Please don't do this': Grab driver says he was scammed by passenger who paid for $8.80 fare with Hong Kong dollars

amierul@asiaone.com