GrabHitch isn’t your usual car-hailing ride — it’s billed as a ‘social ride-sharing intiative’. Are there different etiquette and expectations involved? Here are some GrabHitch accounts from regular riders that may help you map out a social GPS for your next ride.
It may sound like we’re asking the obvious, but what makes GrabHitch different from regular Grab or Uber rides? It’s not just the lower prices (it’s purportedly 20 to 40 per cent cheaper). Or the fact that GrabHitch drivers aren’t doing this for a living — they’re regular folks who are letting other people hitch a ride from them for a basic fare. What makes GrabHitch unique is the etiquette involved. You’re not just drivers and passengers in what Grab bills as a "social ride-sharing initiative" — you’re GrabHitch "buddies". Do buddies sit in the backseat and treat their buddies like a chauffeur? Do buddies need to make small talk on the ride? Then again, we’re not really pals with the stranger whose car we just got into, are we?
#1. You don’t always have to sit in the passenger seat.
"Most drivers won’t mind if you just want some space. Yes, I’ve done it before. Both times I was the only passenger and I sat in the back. If you don’t want to talk, sit in the back and let him know you’re really tired." — Shaun Lee, freelancer.
#2. You never know who you’ll meet, or what swanky car may come your way.
"People understand if you’re tired or just want to zone out or use your phone. But I usually chat with the drivers and have met a pro photographer who added me on Facebook, a hot insurance agent who picked me up twice with an Audi sports car, and even a colleague from whom I gleaned some juicy gossip."— Russ Neo, writer
#3. It’s not unusual to get a regular GrabHitch driver.
"I used to take Hitch every day because I had a regular driver. It really is very convenient when you know your ride in the morning is settled, and you can trust the driver to arrive on time. I got to know him after getting his Hitch ride twice, and we agreed on having the daily morning commute together. Our work places were both in Ubi and we stay in the west. Sadly, I changed jobs last year and the new route is too out of the way for him." — Tan Zhong Jie, engineer
#4. Ladies may get Hitch rides more easily than guys.
"I think it’s true that girls tend to get picked up more. I’ve compared notes with my brother, who takes Hitch as often as I do. I get the ride every morning without fail, even if I book it just before I sleep the night before. My brother only gets half of the rides if he books them the night before. But it could also be that his workplace is more ‘ulu’." — Lily Kok, admin
#5. Some drivers can be, er, overzealous.
"I’ve had two drivers text me after the ride before. During the ride, they were quite chatty, and I just responded to be polite. The second driver, however, asked some personal questions which unsettled me, so I switched topic. They weren’t aggressive — they just asked if I wanted to be friends. I said yes to the cuter one, but we haven’t met yet. It does feel a little weird… What if he hits on every girl he Hitches?" — Zen Lim, accountant.
"I’ve met at least five drivers who’ve been honest enough to admit that they drive Hitch to pick up girls. I don’t think it’s wrong, and I don’t know the success rate, but it definitely proves the theory that it’s easier for girls to get a Hitch. One of them was quite cute but it was obvious he was a ‘player’. I declined to be friends with him. This is not Tinder." — Wee Tin, insurance agent.
#6. Last-minute changes may occur, even if you’ve booked in advance.
"One time, I booked a ride to work for 11am, and on the morning itself, the driver asked if I could come down 10 minutes earlier. I plan my time to the minute, which means I had to rush to make it. Ten minutes before our newly agreed time, he called and said he’d arrived, and if I didn’t go down soon he would have to leave because there was another passenger in his car who was running late. Upon hearing this, I got very triggered. I’d already agreed to go down 10 minutes earlier, and he was pushing it even more. Plus, I could be late if he decided to just drive off. It was clearly bad time management and greed on his part. So I got to his car in a rush, and had to put my make-up on in the car. He apologised meekly, but the entire journey was just really awkward. It spoiled my day." — Karine Yeo, HR executive.
#7. You may meet a Good Samaritan.
"I left my wallet in the car, and the driver was kind enough to drive back to my workplace during lunch to pass it back to me." — Sherman Yong, software engineer.