Thanks to Grab and Uber (no longer available), we are no stranger to private car ride-hailing apps. But some people may still be confused about the difference between carpooling GrabHitch and other regular services.
Ever since GrabHitch entered the ride-hailing scene, you now have a cheaper way to travel. It enables you to get ferried home in a car, but at a lower price than regular Grab or taxis. That’s because you’ll be carpooling with other passengers headed the same way.
And if you’re stranded at midnight and missed the last MRT home, you can avoid the huge midnight 50% surcharge by “hitching”. But only until 1 am and after 5 am. Since 25 September 2018, GrabHitch is no longer available from 1am to 5am, reportedly to avoid conflict between carpooling passengers.
How does GrabHitch work?
The Grab mobile app gives you the option to carpool with other passengers by selecting GrabHitch.
When you select GrabHitch, the app will attempt to match you with drivers who are willing to drive several passengers at the same time. You will have to schedule your ride at least 10 minutes in advance, so do not count on GrabHitch for a last-minute trip. Once your ride is accepted, your driver will directly text you to confirm the ride.
In exchange, you pay lower fares, about 25% lower than JustGrab.
This is comparable to the only other carpooling app, RydePOOL. The RydePOOL function in Ryde also offers around 25% lower fares than RydeX.
Do note that it is etiquette that you should sit in the front passenger seat of the car when you’re taking GrabHitch as the drivers are not really working when they give you a ride.
GrabHitch drivers also have every right to pick up other passengers, so please don’t kick up a huge fuss like this rude hitcher.
How is GrabHitch different from GrabShare?
GrabShare (on the Grab app) and the now-defunct uberPOOL (on the Uber app) also involve sharing a ride with other passengers in order to pay lower fares.
The difference is that when you use GrabShare, you’re riding in a car driven by a professional Grab driver who’s doing it to earn money. These professional drivers have to pay Grab 20% of the fare.
GrabHitch, on the other hand, matches you with other commuters who just happen to be driving somewhere and don’t mind picking up a passenger or two in order to defray the cost of petrol or parking. They’re not supposed to be doing it to turn a profit.
Not too long ago, hitch drivers could earn the full fare, which was why they can afford to charge such low fees. However, since 1 June 2018, GrabHitch drivers have to pay a “platform fee” of 10%.
Still, it’s a way for regular drivers to earn a quick buck, especially if riders are going the same way.
When GrabHitch was first launched, they had a massive 30% discount on already cheap GrabHitch rides (above $7), but that has since ended.
Now, the only GrabHitch related promo is a referral programme where existing drivers can refer their friends and earn $20 each. It ends 30 November 2018.
Pros and cons of GrabHitch
So why would you want to get cosy in the back seat with a bunch of strangers?
The main obvious pro is that you get to enjoy low fares out of all the private car hire services. GrabHitch is by far the cheapest car sharing option available, perhaps only second to RydePOOL. In general, you would pay 20% to 40% lesser than JustGrab.
If you just want the cheapest fees, you may try RydePOOL. But if you are an existing Grab user, sticking to it means you benefit from the GrabPay function and Grab rewards program.
Some cons would be that you’d have to share the car with other passengers and it might take you longer to get to your destination.
Also, as GrabHitch drivers are basically regular people who aren’t doing this for a living, they’re in much shorter supply than actual Grab or Uber drivers. They’re only going to take you if your route happens to be on the way. So if you’re looking for a ride to Lim Chu Kang at 3am, don’t count on a hitch driver to get you there.
Another con is that as your mobile number is shared with your GrabHitch driver, you may get harassed after your ride (especially if you’re a girl). You can always report to Grab if you’re uncomfortable, but if you don’t want to risk it, avoid the service and pay a little more for JustGrab.
Love or hate GrabHitch? Share your experiences in the comments!