Getting from place to place can be stressful, especially when you can’t afford to be late. 

So in 2019, we began enabling people to schedule rides ahead of time. We found that people didn’t mind paying more to secure rides in advance for important occasions that they can’t miss—such as a flight to catch in the wee hours of the morning, an early marathon race or a critical business meeting to attend. 

But there had been times where we fell short of delivering a reliable experience. One key issue raised by our users was last minute cancellations. Passengers tend to cancel when they are worried that driver-partners might be late. Meanwhile, driver-partners may opt to cancel because they believe they would earn more from on-demand bookings.  

This prompted us to go back to the drawing board and think of ways to improve the experience of scheduling rides on the Grab app. We wanted to offer passengers the convenience of prearranging their transport needs and eliminate the stress of being late for important appointments. At the same time, we had to ensure that driver-partners are fairly compensated for their upfront commitment to fulfilling these rides. 

The result? Advance Booking BETA—the revamped version of our scheduled pickup service that prioritises convenience and reliability for users. 

Advance Booking BETA is now available in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City and for airport rides in Metro Manila and Klang Valley. We will progressively roll this out to more cities as we continue to gather feedback and improve the service. 

Making an Advance Booking 

Passengers can select  “Advance Booking” under the transport page and schedule rides up to seven days in advance. Alternatively, they can tap the calendar icon to schedule a ride after entering their pickup and drop off points. 

Here are two ways to access the Advance Booking page.
Schedule your ride up to seven days in advance.

Once the ride has been confirmed, passengers can sit back and await their ride. Driver details will be shared closer to the pickup time. 

We’ve also added more passenger benefits so that there is greater peace of mind, such as the extended 15-minute grace period and complimentary enhanced Personal Accident Insurance (varies across cities). 

Early results showed that passengers were willing to pay more for the convenience and stress-free experience of securing their ride ahead of time-sensitive situations. 

Since our March pilot launch in Singapore, 36 per cent of passengers surveyed made use of Advance Booking for trips to and from the airport; 30 per cent used it to head to the office or a business meeting, and 20 per cent for important appointments such as a visit to the doctor’s. 

Boosting reliability 

We’ve rolled out a series of enhancements—on the front- and back-end—to give passengers the assurance that a ride will be there on time whenever they schedule one. 

We did this by fine-tuning our allocation system to ensure that we only assign bookings to driver-partners who are able to commit to fulfilling the booking. 

Driver-partners also had concerns over the allocation of jobs preceding an Advance Booking. They worry that accepting another ride just before the scheduled Advance Booking may lead them further away from the pickup point.

Now, our allocation system ensures that other bookings assigned to a driver-partner can be completed ahead of the scheduled pickup time of an Advance Booking. 

This not only ensures our driver-partners can get to Advance Booking passengers punctually, but also gives us enough buffer time to reassign jobs when needed.

In the exceptional case that our system fails to allocate a booking to a driver, we would manually reach out to available drivers in the vicinity to take up the booking. 

Optimising earnings

Our fulfilment rates are only as good as the level of acceptance from our driver-partners. That’s why we also focused on optimising earnings to encourage more driver-partners to take up Advance Bookings.

This includes paying them fairly for their time and effort put into fulfilling Advance Bookings— fares take into account peak demand surges and longer waiting times. At the same time, driver-partners will be compensated for their upfront commitment and any last minute cancellations made by passengers. 

Early results were positive. Driver-partners surveyed in Singapore said that they were satisfied with improved earnings from fulfilling Advance Bookings. Some 88 per cent of our driver-partners who have tried Advance Bookings indicated that they would like to continue accepting these rides. Among them, over 70 per cent attributed this to fairer cancellation policies, while over 60 per cent cited the prospect of higher earnings as their primary motivation.

With these enhancements in place, we look forward to providing passengers the assurance that they will get their Advance Booking ride on time, every time. 

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.