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Ride in style with a GrabCar limo

TRAVEL IN LUXURY: This Mercedes-Benz E Class is one of the private-hire cars available to those who book a ride via the GrabCar app.
Ride in style with a GrabCar limo

CONFIDENT: GrabTaxi co-founder Tan (left) and GM Lim believe customers are willing to pay more for premium service.


    Jul 09, 2014

    Ride in style with a GrabCar limo

    TAXI booking app GrabTaxi is going after the luxury market, with the launch of its premium service, GrabCar, in Singapore yesterday.

    This comes shortly after it launched the app here in October and quickly rose to become the No. 1 taxi booking app.

    GrabCar operates on the same mobile app platform as GrabTaxi and enables users to book a private-hire luxury car.

    Based on data gathered, the GrabTaxi team found that there are still pockets of time when the demand for taxis is not fully matched by supply.

    Without affecting the existing supply of taxis on the roads, "GrabCar will give our passengers that personalised experience while, at the same time, ensuring quick, safe and reliable rides", said co-founder Anthony Tan.

    Besides targeting GrabTaxi users, GrabCar hopes to snag new customers that are "willing to pay a little bit extra for a more premium service", said general manager Lim Kell Jay.

    "In addition... passengers can use GrabCar as the transport solution for special occasions, and for chauffeuring guests and corporate executives around town," he said.

    Working with a few licensed limousine partners, GrabCar offers users a choice of vehicle sizes: a four-, six- or 13-seater vehicle, ranging from a Volkswagon Passat to a Toyota Hiace van.

    GrabCar drivers are screened beforehand, and need to possess a good driving record with at least three years' driving experience.

    Be prepared to fork out more for the service, though.

    A four-seater car will cost $50 regardless of the time travelled, distance and ERP charges. But if the distance of the trip is shorter than 4km, it would be $38.

    There will also be a midnight surcharge of $10 between 12am and 6am.

    For now, users can only pay cash, though other payment options may be introduced in the future.

    With the launch of GrabCar, the company now directly pits itself against US-based private driver service Uber, which first launched its high-end car services here last year and recently introduced its lower-priced option, UberX, which uses cars such as the Toyota Corolla.

    However, GrabCar claims that one key difference between the two services is the transparency of the fare.

    Even before stepping into the vehicle, a GrabCar user will know how much he will have to pay, compared to a Uber user, who pays only at the end of the ride via credit card.

    Available in six South-east Asian nations, the GrabTaxi app has been downloaded over 1.5 million times around the region and has become the market leader in the region.

    In Singapore, it has the second-largest number of cab drivers and has enjoyed double-digit growth every month.

    "This new service could be a final alternative if I really can't flag a cab during peak periods or when it rains. But I won't use it unless I need to travel a long distance as the price is pretty steep," said graduate student Chen MiaoHua.