GrabMaps keeps up with tolls to improve user experience

Road tolls are a fact of life in most cities with governments collecting them to contribute to the cost of maintaining transport infrastructure. For drivers and passengers, however, tolls can be a source of frustration not just because it’s an expense, but also the confusing charges that are dependent on factors such as the chosen routes, mileage and time of day. 

Across Southeast Asia, there’s as much diversity in tolling practices. Singapore was an early pioneer in road pricing, with a user-pays system introduced in the 1970s to curb congestion in the city centre. Since the 1990s, overhead gantries have recorded details of all vehicles entering the restricted zone so that charges can be automatically deducted from the driver’s card. There are different prices for cars, taxis, motorcycles and light goods vehicles, and the cost for each varies throughout the day. 

 

Vietnam, on the other hand, charges expressway tolls based on the distance travelled (with entry and exit points being recorded). Different payment methods are accepted, and prices displayed at the tolling booth differ for each vehicle type. 

At Grab, we’re dedicated to fair and open pricing in our delivery and transport services. We go to great lengths to ensure we calculate accurate tolls and share that information with our users and driver-partners upfront so they know the additional costs that will be incurred on every trip, and help prevent disputes at the end of the ride.

Predicting accurate charges for a time-based tolling system relies on traffic data to determine the estimated arrival time, and Grab makes use of actual and predicted traffic speeds when considering the available routing options. 

And our local expertise is not only used for calculating charges. Our mapping intelligence looks at possible routes where tolls can be avoided or taken advantage of, allowing drivers to provide the best possible service at a reasonable price. A tunnel may be quicker than a bridge, and seemingly a better choice, but if the tunnel toll is exorbitant, the advantage is lost.

Between every pick up point and final destination, we find opportunities to optimise the route. While some tolling systems use electronic readers that allow vehicles to pass through safely at high speed, others require drivers to slow down so that the tag can be read or a manual payment made. Weighing up the most effective route relies on a good understanding of these factors, as well as potential delays due to road changes and current road conditions. 

Nothing stands still in transportation. Toll systems change as technology is integrated or upgraded, and more areas are incorporated. Our local operations teams are integral to our understanding of attitudes and acceptance of tolls, as well as transportation changes and future plans. 

As electronic road pricing becomes more sophisticated, GrabMaps is evolving to accommodate those changes. What’s not changing is our focus on this diverse region where local knowledge keeps us one step ahead.

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

COVID-19 has dealt an unprecedented blow to the tourism industry, affecting the livelihoods of millions of workers. One of them was Komsan, an assistant chef in a luxury hotel based in the Srinakarin area.

As the number of tourists at the hotel plunged, he decided to sign up as a GrabFood delivery-partner to earn an alternative income. Soon after, the hotel ceased operations.

Komsan has viewed this change through an optimistic lens, calling it the perfect opportunity for him to embark on a fresh journey after his previous job. Aside from GrabFood deliveries, he now also picks up GrabExpress jobs. It can get tiring, having to shuttle between different locations, but Komsan finds it exciting. And mostly, he’s glad to get his income back on track.