SINGAPORE: A glitch on ride-hailing app Grab on Thursday afternoon (Oct 25) caused all rides to cost S$6 – regardless of destination.
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, Grab Singapore said that the glitch had affected the "computation of fares" in the app.
"The issue has been fully resolved and the Grab app is running normally now," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We are investigating the cause of the glitch and we apologise to all our customers for the inconvenience caused."
The spokesperson added that the company is "grateful" to the drivers who continued to accept bookings when the glitch took place. They will compensate them for the lower fares charged to the affected rides.
"We have also assured all drivers that their acceptance and cancellation rates were not affected by this glitch."
The glitch also affected riders and drivers in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
UNUSUALLY LOW FARES: GRAB DRIVER
A Grab driver in Singapore who only wanted to be known as Marcus told Channel NewsAsia that the problem began at around 3.25pm.
"All trips to anywhere in Singapore is a flat S$6 for JustGrab booking. Many drivers are calling the Grab hotline and the line is flooded.
"I got a job and noticed this fare is unusually low, so I used Google Maps to check the distance and to my shock, it's 12km. So I ... checked other locations and found out about it," he said.
The booking in question was a trip from 7 Siglap Road to Guoco Tower at 1 Wallich Street.
Marcus did not accept the job offer and had feared that his action would affect his acceptance rate. He then switched off the Grab app on his mobile phone.
"We have to maintain a certain acceptance rate to qualify for incentives. So I turned off my app and waited for Grab to solve the problem before going back online," he added.
Channel NewsAsia tried to book a JustGrab ride from 1 Stars Avenue in One-North to Changi Airport and found that it cost only S$6. A Channel NewsAsia reporter also managed to successfully complete a trip from 1 Stars Avenue to Bukit Panjang for S$6.
NO NOTIFICATION FROM COMPANY: GRAB DRIVER
Another Grab driver who wanted to be known as David said he realised there was a problem at about 3pm.
“I found it strange when the heat map was all over but the fare did not correspond. Some pings came in but the fare was ridiculous. I rejected and went offline.”
He said he did not contact customer service and decided to take a break instead as continuing to drive would be “a waste of time and petrol”.
“Knowing that the hotline will be jammed, it is pointless to call the customer service hotline," he added.
He also expressed disappointment that Grab did not notify drivers of the glitch.
“What are we drivers supposed to do now? Waste time and wait for the glitch to be fixed? Who's gonna cover the rental, petrol and time loss?"
PASSENGERS WILL NOT FACE EXTRA DEDUCTIONS: GRAB
Multiple Grab riders took to social media to share their experiences.
Twitter user Fiza Aw said her trip from Tampines to Newton cost S$6, while Adilah said the S$6 fare also applied to trips from Republic Polytechnic to Pasir Ris.
GrabHitch – the company’s carpooling initiative – also appeared to be affected, with users complaining in a Facebook group that all Hitch rides were now S$5, regardless of destination.
“Hitch ride now all $5 … who will pick?” posted Facebook user Tan Jerry.
“Is the Grab pricing having error? Cause most rides that cost 15 bucks become 5 bucks? What happen?” asked another Facebook user.
Grab Singapore responded to several tweets and explained that the app was "down for a while" and that it is now up and running.
Grab added that it would not deduct extra fees from passengers.
Although the app began to reflect different fares for different destinations at about 4.15pm, a Grab driver noticed that prices were still inaccurate.
The app also displayed the same rates across Grab's various services, including Share, Hitch, Family and Assist. The Standard Taxi option was the only service to display a different rate.
Ming, 24, a part-time Grab driver, noticed that a trip from Woodlands to Changi Airport - which normally costs S$26 - was priced at S$14 at 5.37pm.
"It's not restored yet," said Ming. "Prices are the same for different types of Grab services."
The issue was later resolved, according to an update by Ming at 7pm. He said a trip from Woodlands to Changi Airport was back to the usual of about S$27.
GLITCH EXTENDED TO INTERNATIONAL TRIPS
During the glitch, the app also seemed to allow users to book rides for international trips, including to Bangkok and New York - all for S$6.
Users in Indonesia and the Philippines reported seeing lower fares on the app.
Grab Philippines said that the app was "experiencing downtime" which may affect ride bookings.
Grab Malaysia responded to several users, clarifying that the service was experiencing an "interruption".
This story came from a reader tip-off. If you would like to send in photos or videos of something newsworthy, WhatsApp our Mediacorp news hotline at +65 8218 8281 or message us on Facebook.