Hey, what happened to my annual review and/or new year resolutions post? Nah, I believe that change can happen whenever we want as long as our will is strong. I made Christmas resolutions haha! Which includes the usual – eat better, sleep better, and exercise better. Wear less contact lens. And unsubscribe to useless emails.

Along the way, mr-stingy and Heartland Boy were kind enough to think that my *ahem* advice would help their readers, and I am more than happy to contribute. STILL patiently waiting for Smartly to launch, but from email correspondences with Keir I’m confident it is only a matter of time. Last of all, the annual giveaway winner will be announced at a later time 🙂

In particular for the month of December, I took a huge number of rides via Grab. Some were GrabTaxis, few were GrabShares, but mostly GrabCars. It is undeniably the king of disruption for me in 2016. It is unthinkable to recall how we were 100% dependent on taxis in the past.

Personally, I have nothing against traditional taxis. It’s simply a matter of which is better value. Grab, like how RedMart was when it launched, is extremely aggressively in growing its user (and driver) base by relying on rebates and discount codes – a tried and tested approach. I took many rides that cost me next to nothing. Cabbing from Punggol to Seng Kang cost me only $1 after the $5 Android Pay rebate. A MRT would have cost me more.

Just to illustrate how ridiculous the situation was, there was one day when I was at Chinatown Point’s taxi stand, with a long line of empty cabs waiting for passengers. I took out my phone, and booked a GrabTaxi (GrabCar was on surge pricing) because paying via Android Pay would get me $5 discount. And paying via credit card would earn me miles!

Below are “hearsay” I have gathered from various drivers I spoke to.

If you are a taxi driver, I tend to feel for you. Slashing rentals is an obvious reaction to the new reality. Chats with (tech-savvy) taxi drivers revealed a different story, though. Because I booked GrabTaxis and paid via Android Pay, this meant that they were not the “cash-only” type. They were OK with Grab paying them on a weekly basis.

They praised Grab for giving them a superior booking system. For free. Grab doesn’t even take a cut of the earnings, unlike the cab companies. Why, I asked. They said it was to bring onboard a whole fleet of drivers immediately to complement GrabCar which wasn’t 100% ready yet, and to get consumers to become familiar with the Grab ecosystem. Sort of like publicity and advertising. And they liked that it was backed by Temasek, which Uber is not. They feel that Grab will get an unfair advantage behind the scenes. Grab will eventually be working directly with cab companies to take bookings, and start taking a share of earnings in the future.

GrabCar drivers shared the huge incentives that is propelling the Grab tsunami. Clocking a certain number of “peak timing” trips per week e.g. 90 or 100 rides would net them incentives amounting to hundreds of dollars. Clocking a certain amount of revenue e.g. $5K also earns them rebates from commission that Grab takes. Grab is bleeding money left, right and centre especially with all the promo codes it is pushing out. Expect it to slowly change and dry up, like what happened to Redmart.

The majority of drivers (GrabCar and GrabTaxi) I spoke to are leaning towards Grab rather than Uber. Consistently I find it harder to get a ride on Uber and on average it is more expensive, just my personal experience. The incentives system basically forces drivers to pick one app to stick to. There isn’t enough number of rides/hours to hit incentives targets if they use both. Will Uber be forced out of Singapore? Time will tell.

For my unorthodox tip : when facing huge consumer demand (e.g. heavy rain) for cars/cabs via Grab, turn to a traditional system like Comfort Cab app. The Grab app server, at times, cannot handle the sheer number of requests. This is verified by more than one Grab drivers. Due to heavy load the Grab app don’t function well, but amazingly Comfort Cab App comes to my rescue, every single time.

My mantra for 2017 is to be prepared for the unexpected, and roll with the punches. Grab hold of the winds of change and sail along!