Following the closure of car-hailing giant Uber in Singapore, we can’t help but feel a sense of uncertainty. After all, we’ve found ourselves guilty of Grab-ing everywhere, from hitching a ride to work to car-pooling home. And this lifestyle pattern has subtly attached itself to us — even when we are out of the +65.
Case in point: Frequent travellers like us would turn to scouring the internet for the most economical (and safest) way to get a ride around the city.
“Should I hail an airport taxi or pick a local car-sharing service?”
“Would I be able to communicate with the driver in English?”
“Is bike-sharing safe?”
“If I don’t have enough cash, how do I make payment?”
Below, we give you a breakdown of popular ride-sharing services around the world and speak to a few locals just because:
Key features: The eight-year-old motorbike sharing service has become the go-to all-in-one tool for efficient food delivery, car ride, mobile payments and more. Under the GO-JEK umbrella, there’s GO-FOOD, GO-RIDE, GO-MART, GO-BILLS…basically almost everything you might need. (Psst: It is coming to Singapore).
GO-CAR, its car-sharing instalment is available in more than 25 cities locally which include rising destinations like Surabaya, Yogyakarta; tourist magnets Bali and Batam. You can pay via cash or GO-PAY.
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What the locals say:
“GO-JEK is a cheaper alternative. Given the size of their pool (they partnered with transport giant Blue Bird aka GO-BLUEBIRD), it’s easier to get drivers to handle your services. They continue to expand their product offerings from to GO-FOOD; now GO-LIFE with GO-MASSAGE, GO-AUTO, etc. So I like that it’s a one-app for everything.”
“It also has GO-POINTS where you can earn coins by way of an interactive swiping game to redeem vouchers if you pay using cashless payment method GO-PAY.”
“Not all the drivers speak English, although body language is usually acceptable since many foreigners use it as well. One tip: Stick to popular spots as they might not be familiar with difficult roads. Other than that, it’s very convenient for tourists especially if they want to try popular hole-in-the-wall restaurants, but find it difficult to reach given the country’s infrastructure. It’s also a great way for tourists who want to maximize their time in the city without getting stuck in traffic.”
— Nadya Elaina, 23, Strategic Marketing in fashion retailer Love And Flair
“One of my favourite parts of GO-JEK: They have a chatting platform which is very convenient; you can communicate with the driver directly, e.g your exact pick-up location or relate an additional request like a food order.”
“Paying by GO-PAY is very convenient, you can register quickly by having a local number. You can use it to pay for food in selected cafes in the city as well. How it works: Get a receipt with a unique QR code on it, scan, and it’ll be auto-deducted from your GO-PAY account.”
— Jennifer Mulia, 25, Founder of fashion e-tailer start-up Vey Fer Clothing
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Key features: Known as China’s Uber, DiDi boasts several services which included carpooling and hiring a car for passengers with disabilities. What followed was a fierce war competition, which resulted in DiDi buying over Uber China thereafter. But as a result of the tragic murder of a 21-year-old flight attendant (which triggered a societal outrage on the safety of DiDi passengers), the giant establishment has since removed social features like profile photos and public tags from its carpooling service.
What a tourist says:
“DiDi is the next best in China to get transport and you can pay via AliPay or WeChat. The app is in Chinese and you need to converse in Mandarin with the driver. As you need a local account to use it, DiDi is more popular with the locals.”
— Eric Ng, 53, Regional Sales Manager
Disclaimer: According to a CNBC article, DiDi has been temporarily suspended since May 12, 2018.
[Read also: Alternative shopping paradise in Guangzhou and our guide to the best budget shopping destinations in Asia]
Key features: Thanks to popular chat messaging app Kakao Talk (equivalent to WhatsApp), it’s hardly a surprise to see KakaoTaxi becoming an instant hit locally. Plus, the drivers are certified registered drivers with licenses and you don’t have to worry about its credibility.
Though the app is in Korean, a local insider claims that you should find the ‘Settings’ icon and find the English translations on the right.
PassApp Taxi, Cambodia
Key features: A cheaper alternative to get around the bustling city. The app allows you to book a tuk-tuk on the go. Set your destination, receive a price estimate, and the nearest available tuk-tuk will pick you up. The best part: You won’t have to bargain as it follows a fixed rate (all you need to do is download the app and register).
What the locals say:
“I use the PassApp Taxi app sometimes and it’s good. Though if you travel short distances (which costs less than 3000r), you’d still need to pay 3000r!”
(FYI, that’s SGD1+ only).
— Mang Keomonita, 21, student
“Some of the Cambodian drivers speak English (especially when it comes to saying the amount of money) but the older ones usually can’t.”
— Song K Da, 26, student
Key features: Europe’s largest ride-hailing company makes a smart choice if you are travelling around Europe. Adding to an impressive portfolio of more than 120,000 registered drivers (another car-hailing company Hailo has migrated over to Mytaxi last year), it also operates in 70 cities in Europe and South America.
Key features: Ola puts a spotlight on three main user categories; namely those who are looking for 1) car-pooling services, 2) luxury car rentals and not forgetting 3) budget transport options like autorickshaws. Ola currently operates in 110 cities and accepts cash payments (reports have it that in a country where data connectivity remains poor, cash is still vital).
Lyft, United States
Key features: The nine-year-old transportation company operates in more than 300 cities including New York and Los Angeles. It typically offers passengers with four types of services: Lyft (aka the most popular and normal service which matches you with nearby drivers); Lyft Line (which works like car-pooling); Lyft Premier (a more premium four-seater ride option); Lyft Lux (think an upscale SUV ride complete with a highly recommended driver).
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All reviews and comments above are made personally by each individual and do not represent Changi Recommends in any way.
What’s your favourite ride-sharing service? Tell us in the comment box below!
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