Ride-hailing is a very lucrative business in Singapore. And although there’ve been many players who’ve tried to join the fray, few of them ever had a chance against Grab and ComfortDelGro. Could GoJek — the newest contender — be the one to break up the duopoly?
The Indonesia-based operator has been in Singapore for about half a year, and now has a sizeable fleet of drivers and users.
Personally I’m thrilled — after all, the stiffer the competition, the better the discounts, right? Let’s compare the 3 ride-hailing services and take a closer look at their pricing models and other features.
GoJek vs Grab vs Comfort Taxis in Singapore
Many factors can influence your ride prices — what time it is, how far away your destination is, how many drivers/riders are nearby, and even whether or not it’s raining.
For this price comparison, I’m using an example journey from the MoneySmart office in Commonwealth to Orchard ION at around 4pm (off-peak) on a Friday.
|Ride-hailing service||Price for a ride from Commonwealth to Orchard ION (7.1km)|
|GoJek – GoCar||$8.10 (after 10% discount)|
|Grab – GrabShare||$8.50|
|Grab – JustGrab||$9|
|Comfort taxi – ComfortRIDE (fixed fare)||$10.80|
|Comfort taxi – by meter||$11 to $13.50|
GoJek seems the cheapest of the 3, but that’s only because there was a 10% off voucher that was automatically applied. Assuming there’s no promotion going on, GoJek’s GoCar ride would cost $9, which is the same as JustGrab.
The cheapest option would then be GrabShare ($8.50), which is an on-demand shared ride. I don’t think it’s worth a mere $0.50 savings though – Grab doesn’t explicitly state a maximum number of passengers you may have to share your ride with, but the driver can make up to 3 additional stops before dropping you off at your destination.
The displayed prices on the all 3 apps exclude tolls (ERP), but include whatever booking fees and surcharges there are.
|Promo codes & discounts in your account are applied automatically||Only 1 ride option (GOCAR)|
|Pets allowed (at the driver’s discretion)||Expensive dynamic pricing during peak hours|
|Cannot pick up children without a child seat|
|Newest provider in the market, so the smallest fleet of the 3|
I don’t have screenshots to show for it, but when GoJek first launched last year end, I remember it being dramatically cheaper than Grab and Comfort. But now when I compare the prices, they seem to match Grab’s.
GoJek GoCar price calculation — min. $6 per trip
There’s only 1 ride option on GoJek, and it is GOCAR. It’s priced as a flat fare, calculated based on a base fare of $2.70 and an additional $0.70 per km. There is a minimum fare of $6, so if your destination is very nearby (i.e. within walking distance), it may not be worth it.
However, being the newest provider in the market, GoJek is currently the most aggressive with vouchers and discounts. At the time of writing, there’s an ongoing 10% off.
GoJek promo codes are automatically applied
The best part about GoJek’s discounts is that they’re automatically applied and reflected in the displayed fare, so you don’t have to remember to type in promo codes before booking, yada yada.
In the case of multiple vouchers, the one with the earliest expiry is applied first. You can also manually remove the promo code if you want to save it for another occasion.
Dynamic pricing during peak hours
Like the rest, GoJek has peak-hour pricing. They call it “dynamic pricing”, which is adjusted to balance the demand and supply of drivers and passengers.
If you need to pay an inflated rate for your ride, there’ll be a little thermometer icon next to the fare.
Strictly no children without a child seat, but pets may be allowed
Travelling with infants and young children can be tricky: according to the LTA rules, private hire drivers are not allowed to pick up children without a child seat.
However, GoJek has no policy against pets. On their FAQ page, they recommend pet owners type in their requests when booking their rides so drivers can decide whether or not they want to accept the job.
Although it’s not perfect, at least you won’t run into a situation where the driver shows up and refuses to take your furry pal.
When should you book GoJek?
Seeing as their prices are about the same as Grab, I’d recommend GoJek only for as long as there’s an ongoing promotion.
Also, it’s worth comparing prices during peak hours because every operator has a different surge pricing model, so depending on the algorithm, you might just get a lower fare on GoJek — you know, since they have fewer users, and all that.
Grab Singapore — cheaper alternatives GrabShare & GrabHitch available
|Large fleet of drivers, easy to get a ride||Expensive surge pricing during peak hours|
|Cheaper ride pool & sharing options available (Grab Share, Grab Hitch)||Pets are not allowed, have to use GrabPet (beta, more expensive)|
|Subscription plans available for frequent users||Cannot pick up children, have to use GrabFamily (more expensive)|
Because I use GrabFood and GrabPay as well, I like that all 3 of these Grab services are accessible on the same app. It’s a double-edged sword though — if I’m using either GrabFood or Grab (for rides), I can’t use the other one.
It’s not really an issue unless I’m trying to help a friend book a ride though, because if I’m ordering food to where I am, I obviously not planning to leave.
Competitive prices, except during surge pricing
As seen from the comparison above, Grab’s prices are surprisingly competitive during regular, “off-peak” hours. However, Grab’s prices are known to hit exorbitant sums, especially right after their acquisition of Uber.
Things have cooled down: The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has since put some measures in place to protect riders against ridiculous fares. But because of the huge user base, their surge prices remain on the high side.
I usually compare all 3 ride-hailing services during peak hours, and find that Grab is the priciest, followed by Comfort and then GoJek.
Grab promo codes and subscription plans
Grab used to push promo codes fairly often, but that changed with the introduction of their GrabClub subscription plans. Basically, you pay a monthly subscription fee ($19 to $109 monthly) to receive a bunch of vouchers to use on your upcoming rides.
Discounts range from $4 to $10 and 10% to 35% off, which could amount to significant savings if you’re the kind who Grabs everywhere. Although… That isn’t very MoneySmart… (coughs)
Grab has the most ride options — GrabTaxi, JustGrab, GrabHitch, etc
That said, Grab is reasonably reliable and you can almost always get a ride. They have a good fleet of drivers, as well as a ton of ride options depending on your budget and needs.
If you’re cheapo (and not in a rush), you can opt for GrabShare or GrabHitch, which are ride-sharing and car-pooling alternatives respectively.
|Ride option||What it is||Price range|
|GrabShare||On-demand carpool, could be private hire car or taxi||$|
|GrabHitch||Carpool in private car, advanced booking required||$|
|JustGrab||Fastest pickup, could be private hire car or taxi||$$|
|GrabCar||Private hire ride||$$|
|GrabFamily||Ride for families with children who need booster seats||$$$|
|GrabPet||Ride for passengers with pets||$$$|
Some people may say it’s not worth the extra time wasted, but I’ll leave that decision to you.
GrabFamily and GrabPets — premium rides for passengers with kids and pets
As would’ve noticed above, Grab also has dedicated ride options for those travelling with pets and children. However, both of these options are significantly more expensive than the “normal” rides.
For the same journey — from Commonwealth to Orchard — the fare was $11 to $15 for GrabFamily and $17 for GrabPet (as opposed to $9).
When should you book via Grab Singapore?
I think Grab is a decent option most of the time (during “regular” hours) — they’re reliable in that you will probably get a ride quite quickly and at a competitive price.
If you can, you should also try to book a GrabHitch in advance because those are dramatically cheaper. Prices are capped at $16, which is super reasonable. I used to ‘Hitch from Bukit Timah to the airport and it was only $15 — shiok!
But if it’s during peak hours, you’re better off comparing the fares (especially GoJek!) in case Grab’s surge prices get out of hand.
Comfort Taxi — newly introduced ComfortRIDE flat fares now available
|Large fleet of drivers, easy to get a ride||Generally the most expensive prices|
|Choice of flat fare or metered fare||4 types of surcharges: peak hour, late night, CBD & Changi Airport|
|Book via phone call, SMS or Comfort taxi app||Expensive booking fees|
|Can pick up children without child seat||Pets allowed (muzzled or in a cage)|
|Administrative charge for credit card & NETS payment|
Ah, the good ol’ taxi. Comfort is the biggest taxi operator in Singapore, and they own most of the cabs on the road. I used to think that taxis are a lot more expensive, but the ComfortRIDE fares are only slightly pricier than Grab and GoJek.
Comfort taxi fares and prices
Traditionally, taxis ran on a meter fare system, meaning how much your ride costs will depend not just on the distance, but the traffic conditions as well.
However, to compete with Grab and GoJek, Comfort now has a flat fare system called ComfortRIDE too.
|Metered fare||Fare breakdown|
|Flag down fee (first 1km or less)||$3.20 to $3.90|
|Every 400m thereafter or less up to 10km, every 350m thereafter or less after 10km or every 45s or less of waiting||$0.22 to $0.30|
|ComfortRIDE fixed fare||Fare breakdown|
|Fare per 1km||$0.50|
|Fare per minute||$0.15|
|Additional distance, every 5km thereafter or less||$5|
For metered pricing, the minimum fare is the flag down fee, which is lower than ComfortRIDE’s $6. Generally, I pick fixed fares if I think there might be a traffic jam.
If you book a cab (instead of flag one down by the roadside), there are also booking fees. The flat fare is an all-in fare (including booking fees but excluding ERP), but the metered fare above excludes it.
Expensive taxi peak hour surcharge and booking fees
Here’s a list of all the possible additional costs for taxis:
|Standard booking fee||$2.30 or $3.30 during peak period|
|Advance booking fee (at least 30 min earlier)||$8|
|Time of ride||Surcharge|
|Peak period (6am to 9.29am on weekdays and 6pm to 11.59pm daily)||25% of metered fare|
|Late night (12mn to 5.59am daily)||50% of metered fare|
|Trips starting at City area||$3|
|Trips starting at Changi Airport||$3 or $5 at 5pm to 11.59pm on Fri to Sun|
|NETS, NETSPay, NETS Flashpay, DBS PayLah!, OCBC PayAnyone, UOB Mighty and EZ-Link payments||$0.30|
|Credit and charge card payments||10%|
The biggest downer is that there’s such a huge surcharge for credit card payments (10%). Also, that +25% and +50% surcharge for meter-fare rides during peak hours and after midnight is quite scary.
Most reliable if you need a ride urgently or need to ferry pets and/or children
By now, you must be thinking — there’s no way anyone would pick taxis over Grab or GoJek, they’re just way too expensive! That’s true, but for parents (and well, pet paw-rents), taxis may just be the better option.
It’s easier to get a Comfort taxi (because there are so many on the road), and they’re exempted from LTA’s rule on child booster seats. That means all taxis can pick up families with children.
The Comfort website also seems to allow pets, saying they just need to be caged or muzzled, which is reasonable. That said, there is a small chance your driver might turn you down due to personal preference.
When should you book Comfort taxis?
As mentioned, Comfort taxis are great for those commuting with children and pets. Obviously they have a lot of different surcharges, so avoid them accordingly:
Don’t take cabs from the CBD and Changi Airport, and avoid them during peak hours and after midnight.
Which is your preferred ride provider — GoJek, Grab or ComfortDelgro? Tell us in the comments below!
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