With Uber gone, Go-Jek still pussyfooting about entering the market, and tada/Kardi still finding their feet, Ryde has emerged as the main competitor to Grab in Singapore.
I 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 platform, and also in light of some developments that have happened since then.
Ryde bookings are now on demand
When Ryde first started, rides had to be booked at least 10 minutes in advance. This, coupled with the fact that there just weren’t a lot of Ryde drivers out there, put the app at a significant disadvantage to Grab because you’d oftentimes have to wait up to 20 or 30 minutes to get a match.
In July, Ryde started accepting on demand bookings. This, along with higher driver numbers (the latest figure quoted was 10,000 drivers, up from 5,000 in May), means my waiting times for a vehicle to arrive after being matched are down to 5-10 minutes, from 10-15 back in May.
GPS tracking now works
One of my major gripes with Ryde back in May was that the real-time tracking didn’t actually work. When you were matched with a driver, you’d see the driver’s location as of the point when he/she accepted the job, but the vehicle would remain motionless the whole time, making you think the driver was in a jam or something. The vehicle’s location would magically update when the driver hit the “arrived” button, making it hard for users to time their arrival at the pick up spot.
That’s been fixed, and real-time tracking is exactly what you’d expect it to be.
Ryde matching is hit and miss
From my anecdotal discussions with Ryde drivers, it seems like any driver can accept a job, no matter how far away he or she is. That’s problematic, because I’ve encountered situations where someone around Vivo has taken my pick up from Orchard. Whether it’s an overenthusiastic driver who pressed the button too quickly or whether this driver was genuinely the closest one to me I don’t know, but it’s happened more than a few times.
This is all the worse during peak hour, because I’ve had people in the CBD taking my bookings in Orchard. With peak hour traffic, what looks like a short distance ends up being a 10-15 minute wait. Sure, you can cancel on them, but too many cancellations affect your ability to enjoy bonuses…
Bonuses are tied to your rating
Ryde’s doing something different when it comes to bonuses. Instead of giving them out to anyone and everyone, they’re trying to use good ol’ fashioned nudging to make people behave properly.
Look at the screenshot above- to enjoy a 40% cashback (or rather, creditback because you earn Ryde credits), you need to have
- A rating >4.85
- A CR (cancellation rate) <20%
The other ongoing promotions have similar requirements. Want 3% + $14 credits every 7 rides? Your rating needs to be a minimum of 4.75 (there’s something a bit Black Mirror about this). Ryde also encourages you to keep a larger credit balance with them, either from referring friends or purchasing credits. If you have a minimum of $250 RydePay credits in your wallet, you get 7% back on all your rides.
Occasional insane promos
While we’re talking about bonuses, it’s worth mentioning that Ryde does some insane promos now and then. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen lunchtime 95%+ off promos that run for 3 hours or so. As you can imagine, it’s very hard to get a Ryde when that happens, but when you do the feeling is pretty incredible.
I’ve noticed these promos make you pay with a Visa or Mastercard, so you actually pay out of pocket first and get 95%+ back in the form of Ryde credits. That’s clever from Ryde’s point of view, in the sense that it earns money from you and locks you into another trip on their platform.
Privacy concerns still remain
I said this in my previous review but it’s definitely worth saying again: I know Ryde is trying to build a “community” where users and drivers know each other on a personal basis, and satisfied users can request the same Ryde driver in the future. That’s nice in theory, but I’m of the opinion that Ryde’s attempts to force this via associating individual drivers/riders with reviews is awkward.
Here’s my profile. You’ll note that I can see the exact rating each driver left me, as well as any comments (why Mat, why?). With Uber and Grab, ratings were agglomerated and comments were masked.
The privacy concern is real, because the driver can also see how each rider rated him or her. It doesn’t take too much imagination to think of a scenario where a disgruntled driver shows up at someone’s house later on to contest a 1 star rating (the drivers can see where they brought you). This is easily one of the most awkward aspects of using Ryde, and I hope it gets changed soon.
Ryde has a chat function, but there’s no masking of contact numbers either. When you try to call your driver, you’ll see their unmasked handphone number, and they’ll see yours.
All things said, I’m pretty satisfied with my Ryde experience so far. No one will ever beat Uber for UX and ease of use, but Ryde is nonetheless proving to be a worthy competitor to Grab. I typically use Grab when I’m in a rush and need a vehicle quickly, and Ryde when I have a bit more time to wait.
I use the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard with Ryde and have confirmed that I’ve been receiving 10X points so far. I can’t speak to other cards, but if you know you can chime in below!
If you want to try Ryde, you can sign up through any of the links in this article to get $2 free credit (I get $2 too). Yeah, it’s a far cry from Uber’s $5,