One app to rule them all
One app to rule them all
- By Dannon Har
- | Mar 26, 2018
If you find it hard to keep up with developments from Grab, we feel you. After all, they’ve been busy releasing things like GrabCycle just slightly over two weeks ago, even amidst speculation of their impending buyout of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations—which we all now know to be reality.
As part of that deal, Grab will absorb Uber’s operations here while Uber’s services will exit the market in stages. It’s bad news for those who rely on Uber’s ride hailing services, including their recently-launched Uber Commute, as both drivers and riders have only two more weeks to choose to migrate to Grab (or not), since the Uber app will cease to function in Southeast Asia from Apr 8. Your Uber account will remain intact for use in other markets.
For those using Uber Eats (not that we lack food delivery options anyway), it’ll work until end-May, just as GrabFood expands around the region, including being introduced here in Singapore. With all that happening, here’s the quick and easy guide to help you keep track of what functions are available on Grab, both now and in the forseeable future.
The biggest new service we’ll soon get is GrabFood. Those who’ve already tried using it in Thailand and Indonesia will know what to expect when it lands in Singapore by mid-2018. All of Uber Eats’ merchants will migrate to the GrabFood platform, including everyone’s go-to fast food option, McDonald’s.
The aforementioned GrabCycle is actually an ongoing development, so expect changes. But as of now, it’s already a solid bicycle marketplace that allows you to grab bikes and other personal mobility devices from vendors like oBike, GBikes, Anywheel and Popscoot on a single app.
If all goes according to their plan, this is probably the service that’s gonna bind us all to Grab. The mobile e-wallet allows Grab users to pay for all Grab rides and a growing number of other products and services (from hawker food to dental surgery) using their app. Looks like Grab is shaping up to be the WeChat of Southeast Asia.
Essentially their loyalty program, GrabRewards keep us customers within the Grab ecosystem by offering us the incentive to keep spending on Grab and through Grab, and get a free ride now and then in return. Spend using GrabPay and earn even more points—just the way they like it.
Available on the separate GrabShuttle app are the GrabShuttle and GrabShuttle Plus services that offers bus rides on-demand. While GrabShuttle operates on fixed routes, the Plus service plies routes dynamically based on user demand, just like their carpooling service GrabShare, except you’re sharing the ride with many more others.
Remember the good ol’ days when Grab was just a ride hailing service? Well, back then, even services like GrabHitch was innovative. All there was were GrabTaxi for hailing taxis, GrabCar for hailing private hire cars, and JustGrab for either. Throw in a plethora of other services like GrabShare, GrabHitch, GrabCoach, GrabFamily and GrabNow, and there’s an option for getting a ride in any form or fashion you deem fit.
If you’ve not heard of this one yet, it’s because it doesn’t exist, although we think they should definitely work on it. With all the services that Grab offers these days, it’s getting tricky to know what to Grab and when to Grab it. GrabGrab will let you pair yourself with a Grabber who’ll make sure you Grab the Grab service that’s right for you.
In all seriousness though, while Grab monopolising the market means less app clutter on our smartphones, it means there’s no longer any competition here. That means we can expect fewer discounted rides and throwaway freebies. And while they’ve promised to keep rates unchanged, that means little in the face of a dynamic fare structure for many of their ride services.
If Uber’s exit from China thanks to local rival Didi Chuxing is any indication, in time, less competition only results in less benefits for us consumers.