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Thread: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

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    Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    I have used Grab (and Uber before that) many times when in Thailand.
    I have used it in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, etc and also to/from BKK and DMK. The experience has been great and I have always been assigned a driver within 10-20 seconds from requesting it.
    The same thing can be said about my experience with Grab in Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar.

    My concern derives from the experience with Grab I had in the Philippines last month during my trip in there.
    First, it rejected the credit card I had on file with Grab, even though I had used that card with Grab for years in Thailand. I tried with two other credit cards and both of those wouldn't get accepted, so I could only pay with Cash. Even so, most of the times I waited 3-4 minutes for Grab to assign me a driver, only to get a "All our drivers are busy at the moment, retry later." message. Got the same message even after retrying 3-4 times in a row.

    Overall, I would say I only got assigned a Grab driver 25% of the times I requested for and that was only after waiting minutes.
    Getting a Grab from the airport was mission impossible (I ended up waiting in line almost 45 minutes in order to get a normal taxi).
    One of the Grab drivers told me that there are fewer drivers lately in the Philippines and that's why it's getting difficult getting assigned one.

    So, I would like to know from the Bangkok residents in this forum or recent travelers if they have noticed the same thing or any worsening experience with Grab in there?
    Is it still easy to catch one arriving from BKK or should I book a taxi?

    I also noticed in some previous posts that someone has mentioned Bolt is getting popular in Thailand now.
    Does that still offer better prices than Grab?


  2. User who gave Like to post:

    GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    I had a look at prices on Grab in Bangkok and found them slightly higher than hailing a taxi on the road. For me, it's easier to hail a taxi on the road anyway, and I can tell my destination in Thai.

    I had so many negative experiences with taxis at Suvarnabhumi, even at departures, that I take the Airport Link to town and hail a taxi there to my final destination.

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    GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    It has recently become more difficult to get a GRAB in Bangkok. As you mention, it used to be quite easy and cars were plentiful and quick to accept your request. That is no longer the case. I don't know if it is the higher gas prices or just a growing frustration with the traffic (I wouldn't blame a private driver for that one myself!). Just recently I have gone back to doing as Christian advises and get a taxi. It is less hassle. I've even had several Grab drivers lately ask me to cancel a ride after they accept it. Just so you know - Don't do that. If you cancel after 3 minutes, you pay a penalty. Make the driver cancel. As for the airport - It is difficult to get a Grab from the airport because they have nowhere 'safe' and 'legal' to pick you up. Getting a Grab to the airport, however, is still quite easy. Hope that helps.

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    GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    Quote Originally Posted by kkjason View Post
    It has recently become more difficult to get a GRAB in Bangkok. As you mention, it used to be quite easy and cars were plentiful and quick to accept your request. That is no longer the case. I don't know if it is the higher gas prices or just a growing frustration with the traffic (I wouldn't blame a private driver for that one myself!). Just recently I have gone back to doing as Christian advises and get a taxi. It is less hassle. I've even had several Grab drivers lately ask me to cancel a ride after they accept it. Just so you know - Don't do that. If you cancel after 3 minutes, you pay a penalty. Make the driver cancel. As for the airport - It is difficult to get a Grab from the airport because they have nowhere 'safe' and 'legal' to pick you up. Getting a Grab to the airport, however, is still quite easy. Hope that helps.
    Thanks kkjason for your reply. It's sad to hear that.
    Even though Grab was getting more and more expensive each time I was visiting Thailand, I still preferred it over the traditional taxi for the many advantages it offers:
    - You can order it directly from your room, without having to go out on a busy street. Quite handy, especially under the heavy Thai rain
    - You know beforehand how much you're paying, so you don't get that feeling (sometimes unjustified) of getting overcharged
    - The driver knows exactly where he should go, without wasting time of figuring out where to as many taxi drivers don't or pretend not to speak English.
    - I can pay directly with my credit card without having to handle cash which I really hate
    - It was a good convincing points for getting some guys to meet you. you could send a Grab from/to their place.

    So, when you say that it has recently become more difficult to get a GRAB, have you received that message I mentioned in my previous post: "All our drivers are busy, retry later"? What's the best way to get a taxi from BKK? Should I preorder it?

    Btw, have you used BOLT in BKK? If so, what's the experience with it?

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    christianpfc (July 24th, 2022), GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Forum's veteran francois's Avatar
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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    I have not used Bolt in Bangkok, only in Pattaya. Excellent service and inexpensive.

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    Hello;
    Yes - you quite frequently will get the message that there are no drivers available. Alternatively, many drivers now will accept a ride only to then cancel before they get to you (why they are doing that, I'm not sure, but there must be some reason that is only known to them...). Like you, my husband and I love the convenience of Grab. We can stay in our room until the car is just about to arrive, etc. However, it has simply become too burdensome. Now that the COVID situation has improved, taxis are back in abundance. Depending on where you are in Bangkok, it should be like the 'old days' when there are seemingly 10 taxis for every passenger - just stick your hand out and one will stop. Alternatively, give Grab a try when you are here - you might get lucky. I have not used BOLT, so perhaps I should give that a try soon.

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    GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    I live in Pattaya and use Bolt frequently, great service and very good prices. Amazing to have an airconditioned car for the same price I used to pay for a motorbike taxi. Last week I was in Bangkok for a few days and found it very easy to hail a passing taxi on the road, and their prices are still very good, starting the metre at 35 Baht. Only once a rude driver refused to put on the meter and demanded a huge 60 Baht. I always tip the drivers but not this one.

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    GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    Quote Originally Posted by kkjason View Post
    Hello;
    Yes - you quite frequently will get the message that there are no drivers available. Alternatively, many drivers now will accept a ride only to then cancel before they get to you (why they are doing that, I'm not sure, but there must be some reason that is only known to them...). Like you, my husband and I love the convenience of Grab. We can stay in our room until the car is just about to arrive, etc. However, it has simply become too burdensome. Now that the COVID situation has improved, taxis are back in abundance. Depending on where you are in Bangkok, it should be like the 'old days' when there are seemingly 10 taxis for every passenger - just stick your hand out and one will stop. Alternatively, give Grab a try when you are here - you might get lucky. I have not used BOLT, so perhaps I should give that a try soon.
    I started visiting Thailand frequently only from 2016 (only went twice before that), so I pretty much know only going around through Uber first and then Grab and kinda dread going back to catching taxis. Uber went through the same thing in The US with a lack of drivers during the first year of the pandemic, so it had to dole out lots of bonuses and incentives in order to convince them to get back to driving for Uber. Looks like this whole situation is a failure from Grab.
    I thought it was only in the Philippines but looks like it's across all the areas it operates in. Drivers probably think it's not worth anymore driving for Grab.

    Hearing that Bolt works fine though, it's quite encouraging, I wonder if most drivers are only working for Bolt know, since I assume it pays more than Grab as it just entered the market and probably is aggressively trying to recruit drivers.

    Wish someone in Bangkok would share his experience with Bolt.

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    GerBear1958 (July 26th, 2022)

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    I've used Bolt in Bangkok and it was significantly cheaper than Grab (on my searches less than half). Cash only though. And you have the same problem as with Grab that sometimes a driver will accept who has to drive a long, convoluted route to get to you, so the wait can be long... or they give up, cancel & you have to start over.
    As others have suggested, a taxi might be more convenient if one is nearby already.

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    Re: Ridesharing apps in Bangkok

    Quote Originally Posted by EricV View Post
    I've used Bolt in Bangkok and it was significantly cheaper than Grab (on my searches less than half). Cash only though. And you have the same problem as with Grab that sometimes a driver will accept who has to drive a long, convoluted route to get to you, so the wait can be long... or they give up, cancel & you have to start over.
    As others have suggested, a taxi might be more convenient if one is nearby already.
    Thanks for you reply, Eric. It's unfortunate that Bolt doesn't accept credit cards. I've only used it once. Don't remember if it was in Ireland or in one of the Baltic countries, but I remember using a credit card for it. I guess that's one of the reasons their price is cheaper than Grab.

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