GrabHitch, a Grab-style social carpooling service was launched in Malaysia in May 2016. It’s kinda similar with GrabCar, but GrabHitch works as such that the driver is heading the same way as the passenger (s), and the extra seat (s) in his/her car are offered to fellow commuters. Imagine carpooling, but with stranger. It’s a win-win situation: the driver gets to cover the costs of owning a car, and the passenger gets a lift at a lower price.
Using the service for the first time, I do have my reservations. There was also a lack of reviews of (real) users experience on GrabHitch. Well … I had good experiences with Grab so far, be it GrabCar or taxi, so I thought why not give this latest product offering from Grab a go. I did try hitching a ride two months back, but to no avail. So I tried it again, and managed to hitch my “weird-first” GrabHitch ride.
Why weird? Read on …
I made booking more than 12 hours in advance, since it was a carpooling kind of thing. People do appreciate heads-up, no?! Me being my thoughtful-self, sometimes brings unnecessary trouble *chuckle*
At 9.30pm, I received a Grab notification that they have found a driver for me. Around 11pm, the driver sent me a friend request on Facebook! To begin with, I didn’t even know whether it was a he or she. I couldn’t tell from the name, and the profile picture on both FB and Grab shows a group photo. That friend request creeps me out, and my brain started running a thousand miles in a minute. Oh no, nooooooo ……. please not be a weirdo.
Was it a he or a she? How come he/she knows my Facebook ID? Is my Grab account linked to my Facebook account (which embarrassingly, I can’t seem to remember)? Is this how GrabHitch works, making new friends? Am I supposed to be making friends with GrabHitch driver?
The rational side of me kicked in, and wanting to give the driver the benefit of the doubt.
Before I flatter myself into thinking that’s because of my ahem .. “pretty” profile picture, I remember that my Grab account has no profile picture and nor does my current Facebook profile. It is all black mourning the death of the beloved Thai King.
Silly-me also booked using my Thai-registered Grab account, instead of my Malaysia account. The driver could be perplexed receiving a “Thai” booking with a Thai phone number, and perhaps simply want to make sure that it is indeed a genuine booking.
I decided to ignore the friend request, and sent him/her a Whatsapp message showing my Malaysia mobile phone number, which went unread. I later found out that his Whatsapp account is registrered with another number. Go figure the complexity of this whole experience.
As for the ride itself, tsk tsk … the driver was late. Till this point, he / she still do not have my local phone number; no way to reach me. I called instead, and the mystery of the gender is finally revealed. A ‘he’ picked up the call. He apologized for being late, and informed me that he is just 5 minutes away. So, all-in-all, he was 10 minutes late. Me being me, that was already buffered into my traveling time.
My driver is a uni student, jumping into the GrabHitch bandwagon to subsidize his fuel costs of daily travel. He told me that he can accepts up to 4 passengers per ride, but he rather not to prevent ‘awkwardness’ between passengers. He was on his way from home (Selayang) to his uni (Sunway University), so I was along his travel route. Conversation with him was pleasant, so it was all good. Like many drivers that I have encountered so far, he prefers me sitting in the back seat, as opposed to front passenger seat.
I still do not have answers to the friend request on Facebook. I read that GrabHitch works as such that a Facebook account is a prerequisite. Both drivers and passengers have to log in to to use the service with Facebook. Hmm .. this means I did connect my Grab account with my Facebook account, and a quick check on my FB setting confirms that. Duh. This allows both driver and passenger to see each other’s profile and whether they share mutual friends, which I wonder why is it important? So, you won’t give me a lift if you do not like my profile? Well, perhaps this is the reason why the friend request, since my account is not on public setting …
Will I hitch another ride? I would like to say yes for sure, but I can’t. It still creeps me out somehow, even though all worked out well in the end. I put it to sometimes people need to learn to differentiate between business and personal .. it is still a business dealing, and a sense of professionalism is vital.
Reflecting on the experience, I must have missed out on the important GrabHitch’s proposition on meeting and making new friends bit … Perhaps people out there are making friends / networking via GrabHitch, but … thanks but no thanks.
I paid RM 10 for the 8.5km ride, versus estimated fare of RM 11 (+RM 2.10 toll) for GrabCar and RM 15-23 (+ RM 2.10 toll) for a budget taxi. My driver told me that GrabHitch is cost-effective for longer distance trips (more than 15km rides).
If you are itching to try GrabHitch, there is a GrabHitch promo within Klang Valley (excluding to/from KLIA and KLIA2). Get 30% off GrabHitch rides every Wed, Thi, Fri this October (19,20,21, 26, 27, 28 October). Grab covers 30% off each ride up to a maximum of RM 10 only, and 2 rides per promo days.
Have you tried GrabHitch before? Do share with me your experience, if you have …
Also, a special note of appreciation to my younger brother for keeping track of my whereabout via Grab’s “Share My Ride” feature .. heart you lots. The booking was not found initially, so I suspect that the tracking link starts working when the ride starts.
Click here if you would like to know more about GrabHitch.
And read about my second GrabHitch’s ride here.
Update September 2017: Malaysia has stopped using GrabHitch