My week with Ryde: promos, pain points and privacy concerns

Ryde is still finding its feet, but has some great promos currently ongoing, assuming you're ok with slightly longer wait times and potential privacy concerns.

I recently started using Ryde, the ridesharing app that’s trying to give Grab a run for its money in Singapore. Ryde is still relatively small (~5,000 drivers), but they intend to triple their ranks within the next few months. The Ryde app is available for Android and iOS. If it’s your first time using Ryde, download it through this link and get $2 of RydePay credit.

I used Ryde pretty heavily over the past week and wanted to pen down some updated thoughts about the app, the promos and its quirks.

It’s become easier to get a match…but wait times are still a pain

As you already know, RydeX requests aren’t instantly fulfilled the way Grab or Uber rides might be. You post a request at least 10 minutes in advance, it gets blasted out to Ryde drivers nearby and you wait for someone to accept your booking. Ryde’s CEO says that RydeX offers take an average of 20 minutes to be accepted.

Note the time on the phone (8:29am) and the request start time (8:40am). All RydeX requests must be posted at least 10 minutes in advance

When I first tried Ryde, I was encountering wait times of 20+ minutes just to get someone to accept my (decently long) trip. This was the case even in the CBD, which you’d think would have a healthy number of vehicles. In the past week I’ve noticed wait times to get matched reduced significantly. My requests are typically taken up within 5 minutes of posting, which is certainly an improvement.

What remains a problem, however (but is likely to fade as more drivers sign up with the platform) is that the relative scarcity of Ryde drivers means you’re likely to have to wait a long time for them to arrive. In my experience I’ve typically waited a further 10-15 minutes after job acceptance for my driver to show. 

GPS Tracking is bad

Ryde’s attempts at tracking my driver. This screen never updated until she actually showed up.

The long arrival wait times are made worse by the fact that the Ryde app’s GPS function is extremely buggy. Sometimes, you won’t see your driver’s location at all. Other times, your driver’s vehicle will remain absolutely stagnant at the location where they accepted the ride, before suddenly updating just as the driver presses the “I’ve arrived” button. Very rarely has the GPS feature accurately tracked the movements, which adds further “wait anxiety”.

There are no cancellation or no-show fees

Ryde does not currently levy any cancellation or no-show penalties. I imagine that’s only going to be an interim measure until rider and driver numbers stabilize. What this means is that it’s very important for drivers to call riders as soon as they accept the job to provide an ETA- if that sounds unrealistic to you, you can at least cancel without causing them too much inconvenience.

Promos are great…

If you’re willing to lock in money with Ryde via RydePay (min $35 credit top up), you’re able to take advantage of some really great  promotions. For example, Ryde was offering 27% cashback on all RydeX/XL/EXEC rides till today, which can be stacked with a further 3% cashback and a $10 bonus every 5 trips, plus an additional 7% cashback if you have a RidePay balance of >$225.

In the screenshot below you can see my bonuses stacking- $10 was awarded to me for the completion of my 5th ride, $0.38 and $3.38 are the 3% and 27% cashback on my $12.50 ride.

Ryde does not reflect these discounts in your initial fare quote, so even if your fare quote looks higher than Grab, remember to factor this into your final decision.

A reminder that that the $2 free Ryde credit that you get when you download the app cannot be used to partially pay for a ride. That means if you have a $2 RydePay balance and your trip costs $10, you can’t pay for the remaining $8 with your card. You’ll instead need to top up a minimum of $35 in RydePay credit with your card.

…but privacy concerns remain

First of all, Ryde doesn’t mask your handphone number or the number of the driver. I assume that sooner or later they’ll fix this, but until then I can see this being an issue for some.

Second, Ryde readily displays individualized ratings and feedback. Other platforms like Uber or Grab only display this in aggregate. That is- you know your overall rating is 4.5, but you don’t know exactly which customers rated you 4 or rated you 5. When Uber started showing compliments and feedback from riders, these again were anonymized.

Not so with Ryde. When your driver is en route, all you need to do is tap on his/her profile and you can see what specific riders have said about him/her and the ratings they’ve given. For whatever reason, you can also see riders who cancelled, which from an informational point of view adds nothing at all. I’m personally not comfortable with this level of detail, although I’m sure others will disagree.

Third, and related to the second, when you end a Ryde trip you immediately see what rating the driver gave you.

I get that Ryde is trying to build a community, because one of the features it’s talked up is the ability to request specific drivers who you’ve established a good rapport with. Presumably that can only be the case if both you and the driver know you’ve rated each other well. And yet I see the downsides of this feature outweighing the upsides. How long before we get a bout of fisticuffs when a disgruntled driver/rider chases down the other for giving a bad review?

Conclusion

It’s still early days for Ryde, but I’ve been largely satisfied with my experiences so far. It would be great if the wait times for vehicles were reduced, but that’s something that’ll have to happen gradually. Also, the general lack of privacy or anonymity of feedback will bother some.

In the meantime, the promos can offer some really good value, and I’d try and take advantage of them while they last. It does mean committing money to Ryde via RydePay credits, but I still think it’s worth it.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Darren

If u exit the driver location screen and enter again, the GPS location updates. At least, that worked for me. Still a pain though.

Minh

If you top-up with UOB PPV/DBS WWMC, do you get 4mpd for those transactions?

Does it support ApplePay already for the ongoing 8mpd Promo with Citi Prestige?

JC

Received email today that says apple pay supported

[…] last shared some thoughts about Ryde back in May, but I thought I’d update that article now that I’ve done about 30 rides on the […]

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