The rumours have come to a head. Grab bought Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia. Congrats to them. While that is good news for Grab, it’s not good news for me. Or Uber. Or you, if you depend on ride-hailing services for getting around.
See, I depend on the trains to go just about anywhere in the Klang Valley, with Uber to reach areas where the trains don’t get to. Uber, 90% of the time. Not Grab.
On average, Grab Car fares higher than Uber’s, and at that, they don’t even include the toll rates. By the time you factor that in, Grab fares are almost double what you’d pay for an Uber. Plus, Uber drivers are generally nicer overall. It’s no wonder that Uber is preferred by more people.
And now with Uber bought out, we don’t even have that competition. At least, not one that is as established.
There’s a ride-sharing service that looks like it’s still building its base, MULA Car.
The service is owned by Malaysian MBI Group International, based in Penang, which was in the news last year following allegations of an illegal money scheme. MBI International was also one of 302 companies on Bank Negara’s financial consumer alert list on suspicion of not adhering to laws and regulations in its operations.
I’m not trying to infer anything, but I don’t have as much confidence in the service as I did in Uber or even Grab. I downloaded the app but I haven’t tried out the service yet. At first glance, they don’t seem to have a lot of drivers around KLCC at least.
In addition, you have to indicate if you’re a man or woman when you sign up. That’s just a recipe for prejudice and disaster that Uber and Grab have managed to mostly avoid.
Apart from ride-hailing services, commuters may have other options in the Klang Valley. They may not be as cheap or convenient, but they’re options I’ve considered, and you may want to too.
Car sharing services allow you to rent vehicles hourly, daily, weekly or monthly from apps on your smartphone, with their vehicles parked at convenient locations around Klang Valley. Some popular ones include Socar, Moovy, GoCar and Kwikcar.
When I tried to sign up for Socar (the cheapest prices I’ve found) however, I was informed that the country of issue (Nigeria) for my Driver’s Licence was not recognised by the service at the moment. That rules out this option for me.
My monthly commuting expenses are around RM300, including train and Ubers/Grab cars. Now, I’m wondering if it will be worth it to just get a car, pay the monthly instalments and add to the traffic on the roads, rather than deal with the sometimes frustrating ride-hailing experience that is almost certainly bound to increase from an almost monopoly.
How are you going to deal with the new Grab almost monopoly? See our post, Your options for ride-hailing and ride-sharing in Malaysia, for some ideas.