I’m not a huge fan of Uber – after all I live in NYC where the fastest way to travel is usually by Subway. Uber does come in handy and is often quite economical when I travel (well, except for that time in Amsterdam when we thought that our Uber driver was going to murder us . . . – see, UBER: Another Bad Experience and Some Safety Tips).
Fast forward. I’m going to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in a few weeks and I couldn’t be happier. Of course, it was a mistake fare (see, $276 on ANA – JFK-KUL and BKK-JFK!!).
[NOTE: Trip suggestions (including restaurants, sightseeing and running) are always appreciated].
As for transportation, I was repeatedly told Uber is good there. Uber is reliable there. Uber is reasonably priced there. Uber is safe there. Just take Uber. So, I figured I would use Uber on my upcoming trip, right? Wrong.
Well, all that changed yesterday when it was announced that a Singapore company, Grab, has purchased Uber. But who is Grab? Are they good? Have you used them? According to Wikipedia, Grab sure sounds a lot like Uber:
Grab (formerly known as GrabTaxi) is a Singapore-based technology company that offers ride-hailing and logistics services through its app in Singapore and neighbouring Southeast Asian nations such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
It even looks like Uber, doesn’t it?
According to Channel NewsAsia Uber will no longer be available in Southeast Asia from Apr 9, 2018 (great, I arrive right after that).
Uber will be available in Southeast Asia until Apr 8, 2018. All requests after that date should be made from the Grab app. Uber users who do not have a Grab account will need to register for one should they wish to use the service.
(Okay, I just downloaded the Grab app on my iPhone and registered for Grab).
Channel NewsAsia further reports that a Grab spokesperson has reported that fares are not expected to go up. (good luck with that).
Services such as GrabCar and GrabBike will continue to be calculated based on distance, with a dynamic surcharge that will be applied based on various factors – including demand and supply.
(hello Surge Pricing).
Neither last nor least, Uber Eats becomes Grab Food (because Grab Eats sounds dumb, right?):
Uber Eats users will be able to use the platform until the end of May – after which, Uber delivery and restaurant partners will move to a platform called GrabFood, according to Grab.
To me, this is all words. The proof is in the pudding not in text. So, have you used Grab? Does it feel like Uber? Obviously, I’ll be able to report more to you in about one month, but I’m curious if you have any information to add.