Thursday, March 23, 2023

6 things I Don’t Like about Grab, the taxi & private car booking app [Opinion]

Grab (formerly known as GrabTaxi) is one of the largest transport booking app in Southeast Asia. It is available in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.


The app allow users to book for taxis (GrabTaxi), private car services (GrabCar), motorcycle taxis (GrabBike), social carpooling (GrabHitch) and last mile delivery (GrabExpress).

Here’s 5 things I don’t like about Grab, the taxi & private car booking app:

Does not display the full vehicle registration plate

Grab does not display the full vehicle registration plates in the app since Taxi drivers started abusing Grab car drivers last year.

Over the past few months, instead of showing, example WPH8217, the Grab app shows XXX8217. A real example below taken from my history of rides.


This protects the Grab car drivers to a point but it doesn’t benefit users because we don’t have the full details of the Grab driver for security reason or when we need to make a police report.

However, as of today, the full driver vehicle plates are being shown in the app. There’s no guarantee that this will remain the same.

Can’t get a Grab car despite there’s available vehicles on the map

Sometimes, I could see 2-4 Grab cars nearby, but when I request for it, nothing happens, this isn’t convenient.

Normally, when a user request for a ride, the Grab app start pushing the request to nearby drivers (where a list of drivers would show up and it shows if they reject or accept the ride). But in this case, no matter how many times I request, the booking fails despite there are available vehicles in the area.


This could be a bug with the Grab server (or high load on the server) or perhaps those Grab drivers are not within mobile coverage anymore.

Grab has got to fix this.

Can’t cancel when driver is near, despite it might take 10 min or more to arrive

This another downside of the app. Sometimes the driver is close, say within 500m but he/she requires to make a U-turn and this might take 15-20min due to traffic. In this scenario, users can’t cancel, only the drivers can. To cancel, I have to call up the driver, explain to him/her.

Compared to Uber, I could cancel the ride immediately despite I might be charged a cancellation fee (which I believe is fair to the driver).

Book for Budget Cab, but you might get Teksi1M

You choose to book for a budget cab instead you get a Teksi1M cab.

There is a fare difference between budget taxi and Teksi1M cabs.

For budget taxi, it starts with RM3 for the 1st km followed by 25 sen/200m. Meanwhile the Teksi1M cost RM4 for the first km followed by 30sen/200m.

Perhaps this is reason why one is named Budget Cab and the other one is named Teksi1M but Grab does not clearly see the difference.

When I complained to Grab, I was asked to put in the Notes that I don’t want a Teksi1M cab, prior to booking.

My question, if this is the case, why even bother to separate bookings for Budget Taxi and Teksi1M in the app?

Customers service needs improvement

In general, Grab customer service is at an acceptable level but requires a lot of improvement.

There are 2 major things I think Grab Customer Service needs to improve.

  1. Response time- In general (based on my experience), Grab takes 1 day to response to an issue. In comparison (based on my experience), Uber takes less than 1 hour. Grab does no need to solve the problem in the 1st email itself, but the customer service personal should be quick to acknowledge the email.
  2. Did not reply to further question- In unique cases, when I asked further questions, the customer service personal did not respond. For example, a question I sent Grab on Feb 15 is still pending a reply until today.
No response from Grab Customer Service

You can’t (really) pick up a friend using Grab car

Thanks to Grab car’s fixed fare, it is not fair to the driver if you want to pick up a friend before heading to your destination. And if you really want to do this (pick up a friend or friends), you need to make 2 trips or more and there’s no guarantee that you are able to retain the same driver/vehicle from the 2nd trips onwards.

In comparison to Uber, I could do this because the fare is calculated based on km and minutes, the driver has got nothing to loose.

Perhaps Grab could implement a new feature for 2nd and 3rd pickup or perhaps new billing system similar to Uber.

P.s: Do check out my post on 5 things I Like about Grab, the taxi & private car booking app.

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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